Usability and Learnability in Relation to Business Continuity Training

Intuitively, when it comes to a business continuity training course, you might say that learnability is the issue. Learnability is how fast or easily you can go through a procedure or exercise for the first time to get to a certain level of competence. Measures of usability apply when you repeatedly perform the same or similar actions, routines or procedures. What happens however when you’re back in your own organisation, putting BC to work – is learnability or usability the key factor? And is there a difference for people who are in the BC team or who work elsewhere in the organisation?

Both usability and learnability are sufficiently important concepts to be defined in international standards. In ISO 9241-11 for instance, learnability is defined (simply) as the “time of learning”; and usability is measured in relation to goals of “effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction”. Business continuity training should not only seek to maximise learning efficiency , but it should also aim to optimise BC  usability by focusing on teaching effective methods that BC managers can routinely apply simply and easily, once they return to their own organisation.

Business continuity training attendees should also understand how these two notions apply to all the other people in their organisation. Business continuity is everybody’s responsibility, but apart from regular drills, the need to apply specific business continuity procedures may be rare. In this case, designing learnability into their own procedures becomes a priority for BC practitioners after their training course. If the need arises, employees will have a better chance of ensuring “wall to wall” business continuity even if it’s been several months since they last used the procedures concerned.

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