Using Interactive Walkthrough for IT Training

According to a study undertaken by technological research firm Gartner, between 55-75% of all Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) projects fail or don’t meet their objectives. Amongst others, a common reason for ERP project failure is due to the platform users’ inability to understand and adjust to a change in process or platform, or both.

Whether you’re a platform, tool, or application vendor looking to support new and existing clients, or an organisation supporting your users, it’s important to ensure that users know how to use the platform, as well as quickly understand any changes to the system or processes.

Today, offering your users classroom or structured formal training in isolation is rarely sufficient. Whilst scenario-based learning with hands-on practice goes some way to support end users, they are unlikely to remember all the steps in a process when back at work performing the task. Organisations have saved a significant amount of time and budget by offering training on-the-job, or a combination of this and classroom training. This approach has been proven to be more successful, as is demonstrated in the 70-20-10 learning framework. We talk more about this framework, as well as the benefits of on-the-job learning, or performance support, for IT training in our Using Electronic Performance Support to drive Digital Adoption article.

Training on the job in terms of IT systems and processes, often referred to as ‘learning in the flow of work’, provides users with support at the point of need. Now, the latest interactive walkthrough software takes the possibilities to the next level.

What is Interactive Walkthrough Software?

Interactive walkthrough software, or simply, walkthrough software, is used to guide IT users on-the-job, working like an overlay which sits over the top of the functioning platform, application or tool (though for the purposes of this article we will stick with the term ‘platform’ from here). It filters content, recognising where the user is within the live platform, and then provides step-by-step guidance, which ‘walks’ them through the entire process and highlighting the fields that they need to complete.

Interactive walkthroughs can consolidate onboarding and system upgrades for existing users, by making platforms more relevant at the point of use. This can increase employee productivity as well as significantly reduce demand on an IT support desk when implementing or upgrading platforms. They have also been proven to reduce users’ resistance to change, a win-win for all stakeholders.

An animated GIF showing an live example of interactive walkthrough using Opus Follow Me platform

How does Interactive Walkthrough Software work?

Interactive walkthrough software usually hovers over your platform and requires some sort of interface. This then enables you to create your walkthrough content without having to add any code or create a program to interact with your new platform. This content can be implemented in several ways, depending on your choice of walkthrough software, with the two most common options being:

  1. A Javascript code snippet is added directly into the platform or website. This may be a requirement for some walkthrough software, or an option for others. This is arguably the easiest deployment method to enable end users to play your walkthroughs without needing to do anything except navigate to your platform or website. However, the prerequisite to using this deployment method is that you must have access to your platform or website's HTML code so that you can copy and paste the required code snippet. This may not always be possible as most enterprise platforms prevent modification. Choosing walkthrough software that does not require any code to be injected into the target platform means that it can be used more widely across platforms.
  2. An extension is added to your users’ internet browser(s) – this is the best alternative option if embedding Javascript code within the platform is not possible, and many types of interactive walkthrough software offer this as an option. Once the extension is added, end users will have access to the walkthrough content whilst working on browser-based platforms. It will recognise where they are in the platform and show relevant learning content to support them, as required.


How to Choose Interactive Walkthrough Software

Though different walkthrough software can work slightly differently, the basic premise is generally the same. A good walkthrough will be simple to use and enable anyone to create walkthroughs without needing to be a developer or having coding experience. This will allow a non-technical user to create walkthroughs. Some walkthrough software however, requires very specific knowledge which increases cost and limits the quantity of walkthroughs that can be created.

Your walkthrough software should offer support to your users regardless of where they are within their new platform, at the moment of need. For example, a user may be part way through a process and have forgotten how to proceed. The walkthrough will display the first step of that specific process on that specific screen, meaning that they can follow the steps from that point onwards. It should be possible to curate your walkthrough content in order that it is relevant to each screen in the target platform.

In some walkthrough software you can also link to other content and make this available at any screen on any browser-based platform. This is a feature that Guidethrough utilises as a workflow-embedded application training platform. This means that any existing content you have created elsewhere can be linked, without users having to search for it outside of the platform.

Here’s some other questions that you could consider when selecting walkthrough software:

  • Does the tool support all of your enterprise platforms, i.e. one licence accommodates recording across multiple platforms or workflows?
  • Are user licences required for the walkthrough software, in addition to authoring licences? This could increase your costs significantly.
  • Would your users benefit from support in local languages? Translation capabilities can be especially useful if your target platform is only available in one language, and you have end users who do not speak that language. Your walkthrough content will appear in their preferred language and direct them to the controls in the English platform, for example.
  • Do you require management information on user activity/achievement?


Benefits of Interactive Walkthrough in IT Training

  • Improves user adoption
  • Increases user productivity
  • Accelerates the onboarding process
  • Reduces support desk calls
  • Reduces training costs
  • Reduces time spent on training
  • Maximises utilisation of all platform features

Interactive Walkthrough and Digital Adoption Platforms

The true benefit of interactive walkthrough is that your users are being guided through a system process in a customised environment that reflects their system role. To achieve this, the time and effort required to record the content can easily be justified.

Many digital adoption platforms, such as Opus, offer some form of interactive walkthrough functionality. A Digital Adoption Platform (DAP) is the ideal solution to facilitate learning and accelerate user adoption as it allows you to capture system processes directly from the application. In addition to being used to provide guided in-platform support (in the form of walkthroughs) for users, a DAP will offer the captured processes as system simulations that can be used in classroom training or deployed as eLearning. Many will also offer other outputs such as job aids, assessments and test scripts, with no additional effort required to create these multiple different outputs. Some of these platforms also allow the user to add their own recordings which results in a truly customised reference guide. This enables you to cater to the different learning styles of your users, offering IT training content that suits all needs and situations.


Whilst every interactive walkthrough process requires time and effort to record and refine, the return on that investment is exceeded when one considers how easily the user can access support when and where they need it.

There are many Walkthrough tools available, recognising the change from formal learning to just in time support. Criteria such as budget, features, outputs and ease of use should all be assessed prior to investing in the most suitable tool for your requirements.


Find out more about Interactive Walkthrough Software

Contact Larmer Brown today for more information about selecting interactive walkthrough software.

Alternatively, explore the Opus digital adoption platform and Guidethrough workflow-embedded application training platform, both of which provide interactive walkthrough functionality alongside many other features for managing platform and process changes effectively.