When it comes to software training, you can run into some particular snares that go beyond issues in presenting the information. For one, your audience might simply be less adept or lack confidence when it comes to technology, making it more difficult for them to take in the information even if you use a great training module. When you're working with beginners, it's necessary to take the time to understand their needs and train in a way that benefits them in particular.
We've culled some effective ways to adjust your training techniques for beginners
Set the stage and engage your audience
Step one to any initiative for beginners should involve making them comfortable. Start at the very beginning by putting everything into context. Forbes writes: "No matter how ready you are to deliver a killer training session, it’s never safe to assume that your audience is equally prepared. So, as you begin your presentation, it’s helpful to give participants some background information on you, the topic, and their fellow attendees." In other words, make sure they know they can use you as a resource and understand why this new process is being put into place. Then, throughout the process, make sure that you present yourself as a resource whom your learners can contact in case questions arise.
Even if you're not conducting the training in person, send out an email in advance that lets your students know they're learning from an expert. If it works within your budget, you can even hand this off to an outside source who is an expert in both the software platform and teaching. You could be doing yourself a big favor.
Help users embrace change
The best way to get beginners to accept the change and its technological challenges is to demonstrate how it will affect their roles within the company. An article in CIO magazine states: "Major system upgrades mean major upheaval to the way users work, and technology training should help users embrace those changes." So when you're setting up your training, make sure to demonstrate specific tasks that can be done more efficiently with the new tool or skill. In showing them how something can benefit their day-to-day and long-term work, you're setting yourself up for success.
Consider the format of your training
Many users may benefit from a self-paced, e-learning format, while others may work best with social learning through collaboration among employees. When you're working with beginners, mix several types of training formats in order to cater to the crowd. Inc. points out how virtual training can play a significant role in the bigger picture, noting, "For a seminar that requires real world practice, you could easily and cost-efficiently extend the virtual course over a number of weeks, giving employees time between sessions to apply what they have learned and even receive feedback from a live instructor." So offer a mélange of videos, webinars and live sessions to make sure you've got something for everyone.
Ask for feedback
There will always be more digital beginners coming into your workplace, whether they are higher-ups who are used to having end reports handed to them or entry-level staff members who are seeing a software platform for the first time. Because of this, you'll find yourself catering to them again and again when it comes to designing training programs. To help in your effort, ask for feedback from your learners. If they continue to make errors or show confusion, communicate with your users to identify a reason why the material isn't resonating with them. Perhaps they aren't adapting to the format that you have implemented, or perhaps the format isn't as robust as your users need in order to embrace change. By asking them for feedback, you're also establishing an environment where they can do the same.