Summary: Tech Writers As Trainers (kinda long - sorry)

Subject: Summary: Tech Writers As Trainers (kinda long - sorry)
From: Kathy Marshall <kmarshall -at- MODACAD -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 22 Aug 1997 15:59:36 -0700

Ok, so no one asked me for a summary, but I need closure. Thanks to
everyone who replied. And btw, I didn't tell ya the whole story. I work
for a very small company where everyone wears a lot of hats. Our
training isn't anywhere near what some of you suggested -- complete with
training rooms, whiteboards, etc. Most of it is onsite working with a
few clients, so things are tailored to fit their specific needs. Our
trainers don't have any more experience than I do -- except for the fact
that they've been given a chance to do it. And all of them hold other
"real" jobs (from sales assistant to graphic designer).

Anyhoo, I appreciate the pearls of wisdom. Here are some that really
caught my eye (authors names have been deleted to protect the innocent):

"One thing you might consider is a 'train the trainers' session that you
could organize with one or more of your development team."

"...a technical manual is entirely different than a training manual.
These docs serve two different
functions and should be designed accordingly."

"... my advice is mainly to enlist support from those who would
acknowledge & appreciate your help or role in training."

"Training tends to concentrate on getting people productive on whatever
the tool is, up to some minimal level of performance. Manuals tend to
be used as ad-hoc reference tools; training is more a structured set of

"Realize that you don't have to teach your students everything you know
about the product. Part of a good learning experience is to allow the
students to discover things on their own."

"Read up on how adult learners LEARN. I can tell you they don't learn
from lectures."

"The training is something that helps me to this day to have an
appropriate user-centric viewpoint. If you have to explain stuff to
people in person, it helps you to be better at it remotely (as when you
write for unseen readers). It will make you _much_ better at writing for
these people if you are training them."

"Establishing a liaison with the training group by assisting with the
materials is a good way to start moving into that field. It would give
you a chance to see what their job is really like."

"have fun-and check your ego at the door." :-)

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