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The Digital Learning & Support Experience

  • Writer's pictureAshvini Sriharan

Making Technical Terms Accessible: Strategies for Communicating with Non-Technical Stakeholders

Updated: Apr 22, 2023

When I first started off in the career path as a Digital Learning & Support Specialist, one challenge I noticed was translating technical terms and processes to accommodate all learners during key implementation stages of the project, especially when I myself didn't have a background in tech or software. Coming from a Business Marketing background however, allowed me to quickly develop communications and training strategies to ensure successful adoption of the software system by all stakeholders. Here's how I did it:

Work with your Client Support Representative to translate complex processes

First and foremost, I began by understanding the process myself through exploration of the product and existing support resources. To help me understand the technical aspects, I communicate any gaps in my knowledge with the Client Support Representative from the software vendor side. Another tip is to schedule virtual meetings with your representative to walk you through a specific part of the product and obtain permission to record the session as reference for future use (such as creating client branded instructional videos for end-users). The success of this stage can depend on the relationship you have with your client representative. It is crucial to build a trustworthy relationship to ensure the overall success of the project as well as the vendor’s dedication to supporting you in your needs.

Focus on outcomes, process, and intended use

One of the most important things I do is to remove any jargon and simplify the process by focusing on what the outcomes are, various processes to achieve the outcome, and the reasons for use. This helps the learner understand the "why" behind the process, rather than just the technical details. By keeping the focus on the end result and the benefits to the user, it becomes much easier for them to understand and engage with the software.

Eliminate Jargon on platform and provide definitions

It's also important to identify which words used on the platform need to be revised to ensure understanding for all stakeholders. Technical terms or jargon that may be familiar to someone with a technical background may not be immediately clear to someone without that background. By identifying these words and providing definitions or simpler alternatives, we can ensure that everyone is on the same page and that the software is accessible to all.

Build modular bite-sized training sessions

Another key strategy I use is to keep training sessions focused on one topic or feature instead of keeping it broad. I start off the session acknowledging the complexity of the system but provide the audience with reassurance that there will be additional resources and supports available to them. I also use visuals and repetition to help learners remember key concepts. This ensures that each session is digestible and not overwhelming, allowing learners to focus on the topic at hand without being distracted by other details. Additionally, I record the sessions for the learners to refer to in the future, providing a valuable resource for those who may need a refresher later on.

Create a supportive learning environment during training sessions

Finally, creating support channels and a safe space for feedback and questions during training sessions is crucial. Let learners know that anxiety and overwhelm is a normal part of learning during this process change. This ensures that all learners feel comfortable asking questions and seeking clarification when needed. Another strategy used is putting learners into groups to collaborate on navigating the platform for in-person settings. For virtual settings, breakout rooms might be beneficial which is available on Zoom and Microsoft Teams. By providing a supportive environment, we can foster a culture of learning and collaboration, which can help ensure the success of the software implementation.

In conclusion, translating technical terms to accommodate all learners can be a challenging task, but with the right strategies in place, it can be accomplished successfully. Always proceed with empathy towards the learner and focus on inclusive and accessible learning methods. We can ensure that all stakeholders are engaged and understand the software system through repetitive training and expanding resources and tools. All the best on your trainings!


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