Recently, a colleague of mine started a new job. For the past several years, she had been a corporate learning and development manager; now, for the first time, she would be responsible for training IT people. She asked me if I could recommend any publications or other resources devoted to IT training. Here’s how I replied:
Hi, Mary: Congratulations on the new job! It sounds interesting and challenging.
I am not aware of any resources (publications, blogs, etc.) specifically about IT training. The principles of effective training are the same for IT as they are for any other field:
Focus on the learner. Make the training relevant and practical: What should the learner be able to do (not know) after attending the training?
Avoid information dumps. If the information is available in written form (documentation, etc.), there’s no need to present it verbally. Instead, the training should focus on practice: tasks the learner will need to perform back on the job, practice finding information in the documentation, etc.
Look for alternatives to instructor-led training. This is especially important if you’re a one-person show and you need to scale: The fastest way to develop a class is to not develop it; a document, screencast, or job aid may be sufficient. You can typically create these much more quickly than an instructor-led class, and once created, they can be used and re-used without requiring any more of your time.
I have found the following resources valuable in learning these principles and selling them to stakeholders:
http://blog.cathy-moore.com/, especially her posts about Action Mapping and using scenarios.
http://info.alleninteractions.com/. This blog is mostly about e-learning, but I like their ideas about moving on from ADDIE, and their Context, Challenge, Activity, Feedback (CCAF) method to keep training focused on the learner.
What advice would you give my friend?
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