End-user training is one of the keys to the successful implementation of any software. In this series of blog posts, I will provide an overview of the process. Although I am not personally a trainer or instructional designer, I did work with some talented professionals in a previous role as Project Manager for a distance learning program.
At SunView Software, we sell easy to use, easy to customize software for the ITSM marketplace. Although it is easy to use, we always suggest that you and your implementation team take advantage of the assistance offered by our Support Services team. As thre first step in any implementation, there's a need to get the administrators up to speed in a quick and effective way. But was is the impact of a software change or new implementation on the rest of the enterprise?
Part of the process for any change or release should be to have end-user training. The planning for that training should begin long before the first build is ready for testing. Change management software is an important resource and I've provided a handy free guide in the offer below:
A quick online search for end-user training brought a tremendous number of excellent results for software specific training plans and tools. For example, I liked the training brochure download from Microsoft for Windows. As I have mentioned in previous blog posts, the learning curve for the new Microsoft products is pretty steep for the average user - your users.
It reminds me of my first call to the PC Help Desk - so many things that I did not know or understand. Does Microsoft really want us to feel like that again? More importantly, do you want your users to feel that way about the new implementation? Or looking at it from a different point of view, can your Service Desk meet the support demands of a workforce full of newbies? If not, you had better prepare for some enterprise-wide training.
In her excellent 2006 overview of end-user training, Plan your end-user training strategy before software roll-out, Deb Shinder presents the 5 keys to a successful implementation.
1. Setting training goals Your first objective in providing software training for end-users is minimizing any productivity losses associated with the software transition. This means you have to, as quickly as possible, get them up to the skill level required to do their jobs at least as quickly and accurately as they were doing with the old software
2. Assessing end-user needs An important element in creating your training plan is to evaluate the technical skill level(s) of those who will actually use the software on a daily basis.
3. Training delivery methods
- Individual hands-on instructor
- Hands-on classroom style instructor-led training
- Seminar style group demonstration
- Computer Based Training (CBT)
- Book-based self-paced training
4. Creating a training program End-user training is more effective and memorable if you tailor it to your own organization's use of the software, rather than generic lessons.
5. Making your training program scalable A scalable training program is flexible enough to accommodate both small numbers of users (for example, when new employees join the company and need to be trained on the software) and large numbers (as is necessary in an organization-wide rollout of a new product).
In future posts in this end-user training series, we will look into some useful tools in the planning stage; end-user training mistakes and more. So please check back often and let me know what you are doing to train your end-users.
Flickr Image by Grant Wickes