In spite of all my work in metaverses and virtual worlds, I do spend time in the real world and, in fact, do a lot of real world training.
Recently, I was asked to give some training to a group of software developers/analysts and others who work with software and then train others how to use that software. They wanted a “train-the-trainer” course.
During the course, I gave some suggestions for effective learning sessions, first teach three things
- How to exit out of the software entirely. Learners HATE to be stuck in a software program that they cannot escape from.
- How to “go back” a screen or to the main menu. If a learner gets lost, he or she needs to go to the first screen or main menu screen to get re-oriented.
- The HELP key. Not enough time is dedicated in software training to teaching the learner how to find help and information on his or her own. I suggest in every software training class you spend an hour teaching the Help system. Why? Learners tend to overlook the information in help and tend to use it in the most cursory way.
Next, the complaint arose that many learners, who bring their own laptop, or sit at a work station…check email and other web sites.
Combat this by teaming learners up in groups of two. Learners will not want someone looking over their shoulder when they check email, so team them up and have them do exercises together on the computer…it aids learning via collaboration and cooperation and it avoids email checking.
Finally, give learners plenty of time to practice on with the software. They should have hands on experience using the software for 90% of the class. Weave the background information, concepts and other information into the spaces between the various scenarios you should be asking them to perform while learning the software.
Telling someone how software works is never as effective as letting them try the software and then guiding them to the proper steps.
Please, add some suggestions of your own for teaching software in a stand up training classroom environment.