Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Oldsters vs. Youngsters

It’s been a classic battle. The eager, ambitious youngsters (2 of the trainers) attempting to establish dominance over the experienced oldsters (me, the medicine trainer).

One of the youngsters spent most of Monday and Tuesday coming up with all of the things we SHOULD do for the training.

“We should have an extra class just on basic skills in the current product to get everyone on the same page.”

“We should have evaluations at the end of the class (we have 1 hour to teach everyone at least 3 hours worth of material).”

“We need to address everyone’s special instances and design that into the training.”

There was more, but I started tuning her out. As tactfully as I could (which was admittedly not very tactful), I informed her that she is adding to an already long to-do list and, with the current timeline, she is going to pull resources needed for other things. Namely, stuff we have already committed to and the development of dead-minimum training materials – trainers guides and end-user quick references.

Since there are 4 of us, we needed the “client” (the Director of Medicine) to break the deadlock.

Her take, the Oldsters are right.

After all this time (and many extra classes already), if they haven’t been practicing the basic skills now, an extra class won’t help.

We are not going to be able to design a formal course even worth evaluating. We also will not have time to incorporate the evaluation and, frankly, the docs won’t take it Furthermore, evaluation is going to be very easy. All you have to do is look at their faces.

The plan to emphasize the way things SHOULD be done will now change to a straight functional training. We will address special workflows during the support time.

It is understood that most of the real learning is going to take place during the support weeks following the Go Live. I know that the youngster was trying to minimize the amount of running around we will have to do during the support weeks. She was also trying to demonstrate that she understands how “training” works. However, as the oldsters keep reminding her – we do not have an ideal situation for developing or delivering formal training.

As I listen to the feedback from our end-users (“I won’t understand until I go back to the clinic and try this out”) and continue reading the research and blogs on learning, I am realizing that a little educational sloppyness is not such a bad thing. Our end-users will be forced to learn a lot on their own. Hopefully, within a couple of months, they can teach US a thing or two. And that will be a very good thing.

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