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Evaluate different methods of delivering user training.


Teaching Note:

Examples should include self-instruction, formal classes, remote/on-line training.

S/E The quality of the delivery of user training can affect the rate of implementation of the new system.


Sample Question:


JSR Notes:



Not All Apple & Microsoft Products...

It is important to note that a huge proportion of software is either very specialized or custom made, and so not known by normal people. Yes, many people use Apple and Adobe and Microsoft software, but there are hundreds of thousands of other programs used around the world. And for those, there will be little in the way of on-line forums or YouTube videos, so on-the-ground, live, training is crucial.

Sector Specific Software

All specific industries and businesses use their own sector specific software, much of it custom programmed for particular offices/branches/factories. As one example, even in the quickly-becoming-antiquated newspaper industry, there are various companies who specialize in developing and supporting the software that runs news paper printing presses and offices. A friend of mine, Dave Kilfoil used to work as an IT manager of the local newspaper and several times was flow from our hometown in Canada all the way to Florida for training with the particular printing presses IT software system.

PowerSchool Training Example

Another great example, closer to home to international schools, is that schools who use PowerSchool often have to send IT staff to training sessions, either on-line or live, traveling, for example, all the way to America for the sessions. Alternatively PowerSchool has several regional training personnel who travel around to international schools to provide face-to-face training.

Meantime, the tech guys of at a school will also regularly go for lots of other training in areas such as the management of their networking and security software, along with certification programs offered by the likes of big companies like Apple and Google.

So you can go to trainers or trainers come to you. Both have their advantages and disadvantages.

Spare a Thought for Older People...

One important consideration in choosing the kind of training you use is that young people are usually better suited to on-line training, whereas those who are older (30+) often prefer the "human touch" of face-to-face contact. It's not necessarily that the older generations find the material harder to learn, it's just that they tend interact better when the person offering the training is actually there.

The IT Training Industry

One other interesting point is that IT training is BIG business - there are many big, successful companies whose whole reason for existence is IT training. Some training companies specialize in a certain sector, such as security, and others offer a wide range of training services, able to take on any kind of IT system/software, and roll out customized training for businesses and organizations.


And the final point hearkens back to the teaching note that, as with user documentation, for a new product, good training can make or break its launch and thereby its success. So it pays to do training right.


Self Instruction

With self training, the user can learn at their own pace, developing mastery of one concept before moving on to the next. This method of instruction allows the user to consume the information when they want, fitting around the rest of their schedule. Often times, for example, people can do their learning on public transportation on the way to school or work.

But the major issue with this method of training is the lack of personal help. When the user runs into a concept they cannot understand, there is no one there to help them.

Advantages of self-instruction training:

- the user can progress at their own rate

- independence

- can do the training whenever it is best

- price; usually a lot cheaper than live alternatives


Disadvantages of self-instruction training:

- minimal guidance; may not be able to ask specific questions

- there is no assurance that the training is going properly

- hard to learn topics may be too much, without targeted help

- there is a temptation for cheating

- lonely; lack of social interaction

- lack of motivation, peer pressure, and positive reinforcement to keep up

- and so not training enough, putting things off


Formal Classes

Formal classes provide training via an instructor and a formal class or syllabus. The trainees learn from the instructor and also from each other. In such a setting, trainees are easily able to receive help and ask questions. And the trainees receive feedback on their performance via regular assessments. From these assessments, the instructor can reinforce and correct, along with better plan the ensuing lessons.

Formal training is generally more expensive than the alternatives, as it requires a professional trainer and facilities. Another problem may be the difficulty scheduling classes to optimize attendance among the trainees. But formal classes do enable a certain level of training that may not be possible with other methods.

Advantages of formal classes training:

- peer-pressured to do better

- able to take advantage of the knowledge of the group

- live, interactive question

- live, interactive discussion

- ability to easily read body language for clarification of understanding

Disadvantages of formal classes training:

- cost

- the possibility of a weak, or not properly informed, teacher

- the teacher's personality can be a problem

- the possibility of no "chemistry" in the class

- inconvenient class times


Remote/On-line Learning

Remote/on-line or "virtual" education refers to instruction in a learning environment where teacher and student are separated by time or space, or both. The instructor provides course content through some sort of course management application, using a variety of multimedia resources, and delivering the lesson either publicly, via the Internet, or through dedicated videoconferencing equipment.

At times, the course material may be delivered live, with students signing in remotely at that per-arranged time. But it's more often the case that the video lessons are per-recorded, so that students can view them at their convenience. Never-the-less, the expectation is that students are signed up to a certain course, and so must view the lesson and do the associated assignments by a certain deadline, as if they were in a physical instructional setting like a school.

Advantages of remote/on-line:

- accessible to everyone where they are

- flexibility in terms of time and place

- time is not as limited as it would be in a formal and traditional lesson

- the training can be repeated and reviewed for better understanding

- usually more economical than physical classes

- individual attention can be provided in the course management software, via forums, chats and so on


Disadvantages of remote/on-line training:

- more freedom can lead to less focus

- less pressure to do work, and less positive reinforcement to do well

- distractions

- ease of cheating

- bias towards tech-savvy students over non-technical students

- lack of social interaction between teacher and students

- possible lack of direct and immediate feedback from teachers

- danger of procrastination




WikiBooks.org **


Jaime: The issues of on-line training, and the complete importance if interaction in teaching/learning