[A job aid is] a sign, worksheet or other object which includes diagrams or a brief summary of instructions, such as a checklist. Designed to reduce avoidable mistakes by helping a person remember what to do, or be sure that they have completed all steps required. Frequently used to support or replace ((training)). Often developed and tested during ((instructional design)).
A job aid is a repository for information, processes, or perspectives that is external to the individual and that supports work and activity by directing, guiding, and enlightening performance. Rossett and Gautier-Downes, A Handbook of Job Aids
Job aids are devices or tools (such as instruction cards, memory joggers, wall charts) that allows an individual to quickly access the information he or she needs to perform a task.
Tip 1. Consider developing job aids for tasks, especially tasks that are not performed on a frequent basis (daily).
Job aids are already a part of the lives of many of us but perhaps we don’t think of them as such. Our everyday assortment includes such things as shopping lists, address books, to-do lists, and all of the reminders on many refrigerator doors. They are such things as the graphic on the side of my two-cycle weed trimmer that reminds me of the six steps necessary for quick starting. Job aids are memory joggers and instructions that make life easier for us freeing us from having to remember an impossible array of facts and figures. Not only do they make life simpler, they also make correct task performance more likely and more efficiently performed. Correct and efficient task performance results in higher quality of service or product, higher customer satisfaction, higher profits, and higher job security
Tip 2. Be sure that available job aids are addressed and made a part of training.
In too many cases, time saving job aids go unused because the worker is simply not aware that they even exist. In other cases, they remain unused because their use was never even suggested. Including job aids in training not only ensures that learners know of their existence, a subliminal endorsement of their use takes place. Be aware that in some instances, instructors may be reluctant to refer to job aids because they covet and pursue the impression of having ultimate knowledge and thus do not need the job aids.
Tip 3. Look for existing job aids hidden in the closet.
Be on the lookout for the SMEs that consistently perform in an outstanding manner. Have they created notes or drawings that help them remember how to do things more quickly than others. Do they have a plethora of Post-it® notes in their work area that could be the beginning of job aids that could be used to boost the performance of others?
Tip 4. Periodically inspect and re-evaluate job aids and revise as necessary.
Often after a job aid has been produced to help people operate a mechanism more efficiently, the mechanism itself is redesigned making the job aid worthless. Having a scheduled re-inspection of job aids to re-validate their application can avoid time wasted in trying to apply obsolete instructions.
Tip 5. Check Job Aid information outside this website. These include:
A Handbook of Job Aids by Rossett, Allison, Gautier-Downes, Jeannette
© Pete Blair 2005-2022