Thursday, January 17, 2008

Wendy's 1st Law of Application Training

When training an unfamiliar application for the first time - a major technical problem will occur.


Ah yes....first time in the classroom since November(ish) and Wendy's 1st Law of Application Training comes into effect.

This time - 3/4 of the mice in the classroom didn't work. Worked fine outside the application on these computers. Not in the application I was training.

Figures.

Oh yeah - and it was a full classroom too.

So what did Wendy do?

"Hey - let's figure out keystroke commands TOGETHER!!!!"

Oddly - I think it worked. And allowing more time for the students to play with their own stuff rather than covering some of the syllabus helped a lot. The 2 ladies who were nervous about computers got the simple steps they needed within their own forms and some individual attention. The others got to ask some questions and seemed pretty excited that they got to learn something their colleagues didn't know.

Lesson learned: keep an eye on the objective. How you get there is up for negotiation.

I knew those Improv classes I took in High School would do me good some day....

1 comment:

Karyn Romeis said...

Application training. Now that's familiar turf! And I agree about those improv classes - 3 years in drama school proved more helpful than expected in preparing me for my role as an IT apps trainer.

The most useful tools in my toolkit during those years would have to be: the ability to think on my feet and deal with the curveball that will inevitably come; showing the learner how to find the answer himself - either/both in the printed support material and in the "Help" feature; talking in analogies and allegories - relating new things back to stuff they already know and skills they already have; and, finally - challenging their assumptions by using those same analogies and allegories to help them realise how unreasonable they are (people who are not very IT literate will often impute more intelligence to the system than it deserves and expect it to "know" things. I would always ask them whether they expected their cars to steer to the right when the put their right indicator on. No? Why not? I mean, there's a computer in your car, too!)