Training employees. “Whose job is that? It’s not mine.” I’ve heard this often from my IT peers. They aren’t trying to skirt responsibility, they love technology and want users to embrace the latest enhancements. IT administrators and staff are often tasked with learning about the newest technologies to help their business maintain a competitive edge and meet customer demand. There are many reasons why IT may seem like the best choice for providing training. A common example being the C-suite seeing their IT staff as experts of the newest technology and they want to leverage that expertise.
Do IT experts make the best teachers?
Maybe, maybe not. Generally speaking there are 2 separate skills sets: those who learn technology quickly and those who can effectively disseminate information. Just because someone has a great deal of knowledge doesn’t mean they can explain a process effectively. I have an uncle who knows everything about home brewing, and he makes awesome beer. But he’s far more talented at drinking the beer than explaining the process of multi-grain brewing. Teaching and the ability to facilitate effective knowledge transfer is a skill in itself, especially teaching adult learners. While it’s certainly possible to have skills in both, it’s understandable that there are fewer individuals who can do both extremely well.
Ready to take your software training online?
Step 1 – Considerations
Whether you’re based in the NOC or C-suite consider this: Using critical IT staff, who keep the gears oiled and running, as your corporate trainers could cost more than you’ve considered. While the IT staff may be the most knowledgeable asset in your organization regarding the latest software you’re deploying, there may be more cost effective methods for effectively training your staff, and other approaches to lessen the impact on the IT department. Consider the following:
- What is the training need?
- Does IT want to do the training?
- What’s the impact on the IT department and company, with IT focusing less on their core job responsibilities?
- Can you realistically reassign IT staff to create the learning content?
- Can you allocate the IT staff and time to train existing employees?
- What is the training and support plan post rollout?
- What is the future training method going to be for onboard new hires?
Step 2 – Define your training approach
Consider a blended learning approach that includes on-demand content.
Train the trainer
Remember our 4-Step Software Rollout Plan, a key component is Step 4, Anticipate and limit IT support needs by preparing for life after deployment. Identify those in your organization who can help others use the new software and then leverage a Train the Trainer Approach. Use IT to help create the training plan, content and the training, but empower other champions in your business to help deliver the training. Your champion may be in IT, or they could be in marketing. You’re looking for staff that can do more than drink the beer. Those delivering the training need to be able to share the passion for the deployment and why it’s positive for your business.
Online and on-demand options
Use multiple methods for training your staff. While hands-on training is ideal, it’s not always a realistic expectation and may not be available for ongoing adoption or new hire training. Providing online options like on-demand video and live webinars can help you meet your present need and also provide a pathway for future use for existing participants as well as new employee onboarding. These methods allow for learning in a more granular fashion delivering higher user retention.
Step 3 – Bring it all online, but keep it blended
The most cost effective training option is on-demand video training and one-to-many presentation sessions via webinars. If you’re deploying new software your company should identify what components need to be hands-on and what can be delivered in other formats. So now what? Consider a SaaS based hosting solution for your online videos. If you’re price conscious, an expensive LMS is probably out of the question and depending on your need may be overkill. But there are high quality business-specific options available. Ask your training partner if they recommend a solution. KnowledgeWave offers a low cost, blended learning site that provides an engaging learning experience on popular business software like Microsoft Office 365 and Google Apps. Ask your software vendor what training resources they have available and see if you can incorporate them in whatever learning solution you go with. Run live webinars to maintain adoption, but make sure to record them, store them on your site and use them over. After all, you deserve to sit back and enjoy a cold one, too.
To learn more about implementing an affordable online training strategy, download our complimentary eBook: Skills Training in a Box — How to Implement Training Successfully