As part of our ongoing support for our customers, we provide both formal and informal training around the services and products we implement. From a few recent experiences, I wanted to share some overall suggestions on how to plan and present a successful training session on technical topics. Over a series of blogs, I will share some of the planning and content suggestions that have worked well in the past. This blog will focus on some pre-planning and introduction to your audience.
Part 1 - Before the training event is scheduled, announce the training to the user base. Tell everyone why attending this training is important, and that "learning the new app as you go along" versus "in the scheduled training", will be very inefficient. Encourage all users to attend, even those who are usually very busy and/or may only be light users of the application. Even the most tech savvy users, and internal IT staff will still benefit from a focused training session.
Part 2 - At the start of the training, begin by telling your audience why the training is being presented, how it will affect various user groups, and other appropriate details. This will help your audience understand why the training content is important and help them feel included in the process of incorporating this new information into their daily work routine. Here are some examples of information to share, focused on a technical product training, but the overall ideas could be modified to apply to any topic.
Intro – Explain the key questions around the software in your business environment. This will foster user adoption by engaging employees in the process and clarifying how each user will be involved.
- Who – Which employees, all or specific teams, will use the application?
- What – Overall function of the program. Some trainers forget this simple explanation but it is critical for employees new to the application, and it is a refresher for existing users who may have lost focus on the intent of the product in the business environment.
- Where – Over what connections will this be used? Only in office, over VPN, over the internet, on terminal server or Citrix environment, in browser/Outlook plug-in, as a standalone application or in more than one configuration?
- When – When will it be rolled out to pilot testers as well as the entire company? When will the previous version or old application be removed from use?
- Why – Did we choose this product over a competing or previous version?
- How – Implementation process? Desk-side, through group policy, user will click a link, URL pushed to user or sent via email? Any additional security involved in access to the new software?
Stay tuned for other blogs in this series. I will have more suggestions for ways to improve your training process.
Beringer Associates, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, is always here to provide expert knowledge in topics like these. Contact us with any questions you may have.