Re: Training materials--help?

Subject: Re: Training materials--help?
From: "Susan W. Gallagher" <sgallagher -at- STARBASECORP -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 12 Jul 1995 10:34:40 -0700

Janie asks...

> Are there any technical trainers among us?

> I've just been given a new responsibility - - developing
> training materials for our telecommunications products.
> We will use these materials in a classroom setting
> for training various customers, resellers, and tech support
> persons. I've looked through all my old STC journals for
> ideas without much success.

> I'd like to ask from you:

> 1. Recommendation for help (books, PICs, examples,etc.) on
> writing training documents.

> 2. Suggestions for innovative, successful formats.

> 3. Sympathy?

Well, Janie... I spent the first -- I dunno 6 or 7 years of
my tech writing career as an instructional designer and it
becomes a lot easier to figure out what works if you actually
get to take the stuff into the classroom yourself and dance
around the students as they try to make heads or tails out
of your instructions. But, for your first pass at things,
try these tactics...

State the objectives of the lesson before the students
get started on it. It's a lot easier to get and keep their
attention if they know where the lesson is going.

Concentrate on *real world* tasks. Find out how your
students will be using the software and build the
exercises accordingly.

Provide immediate (or almost) gratification. For example,
for word processing, students want to create and print a
document before they learn copy/move or fancy formatting.
That print-out in their hands means a lot after the first
20 minutes or so of class.

Keep it light. If you provide sample documents or database
files for the class to use, make them interesting. One of
the training companies I worked for decided to focus on
local history for all its class materials (everything from
local indian legends to early Hollywood gossip -- this is
SoCal). The students were fascinated with the lesson
materials, so we kept their attention.

Be explicit with your instructions, don't leave out any
steps, and provide a lot of feedback for reference.

Hope this helps. It's a start.

Sue Gallagher
sgallagher -at- starbasecorp -dot- com

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