Education

Educators sound off on training satisfaction

Recently, we published some tips on choosing the right training center and dealing with poor instruction. TechRepublic readers responded with advice of their own.

In two recent Training Republic articles, “Choosing the right training center” and “When the training center doesn’t train,” we suggested some ways to ensure that you’ll be satisfied with a training center. Since then, we’ve received several responses from trainers and IT professionals who wanted to share their advice and experiences with us. Here are some of the things they had to say:

The unsatisfied client
Kadi Morand, a freelance trainer, said that unsatisfied clients are the greatest stumbling block that trainers must overcome. With more businesses turning to training, having clear guidelines about what training will cover is vital.

In one instance, Morand was teaching Windows 95 to a legal support staff group. While the rest of the class was enjoying the lesson, one student refused to even look at the desktop.

After Morand asked the student what was wrong, the student told her that she didn’t need to learn what Morand was teaching and that she had other things to learn. It turns out that the student “wanted me to ‘set’ her system so it would ‘boot’ straight into her processor and then wanted me to correct some macros in a document she was building.”

Morand had contracted only for Windows 95 navigation and use within the law firm’s network. However, after Morand explained her responsibilities, the student called the firm and accused Morand of trying to defraud the company. She also recommended that Morand not be paid. Though the dispute ended up in arbitration, a review of the contract showed that Morand was on solid ground.

“In conclusion, I learned that it may be more important to state clearly what should not be expected, which is often overlooked, even in needs assessments,” Morand said.

Preview the course
Dave Flynn, a MCT who has trained at both ATEC and non-ATEC schools, suggested that those interested in a training center should sit in on a class with which you’re already familiar.

 “Watch the students and see if they are understanding what the instructor is saying,” Flynn said. “It helps if you have some knowledge of the topic so you can tell if the instructor knows what he is talking about.”

For certification classes, Flynn also recommends finding out what certifications an instructor has, how many students usually complete a course, and how many gain certification. Also, find out the placement rate for students and where they’re working. Are they landing in IT jobs or on the third shift at the quickie mart?

Flynn says it’s also wise to talk to some of the students: “They will rarely tell you that the school is bad, but you can tell if they are learning what they need to learn.”

Evaluate trainers
At the Meadowlands Learning Center in East Rutherford, NJ, Carol Every, a senior educational consultant, said her company evaluates its staff or trainers as well as new hires to ensure they’re qualified. A prospective trainer, for example, is observed teaching a class at the center and graded on subject knowledge, teaching methods, and rapport with students. Trainers are then reviewed every six months by fellow trainers and must continue training in their subject.

Industry hurt by shortcuts
Phil Shortell, owner of The Fourth R of Salinas, contended that others could benefit by following the advice found in “Choosing the right training center.”

“Our industry [computer training] is injured by too many companies that cut corners by using outdated equipment and instructors with little or no understanding of the profession of education,” Shortell said.
It’s easy to remember your favorite teacher. How about your favorite trainer? Has there been a course where the trainer was almost perfect? What does the ideal trainer do to help students learn the subject matter? Tell us what you think makes an effective trainer by posting a comment below or sending us an e-mail .
In two recent Training Republic articles, “Choosing the right training center” and “When the training center doesn’t train,” we suggested some ways to ensure that you’ll be satisfied with a training center. Since then, we’ve received several responses from trainers and IT professionals who wanted to share their advice and experiences with us. Here are some of the things they had to say:

The unsatisfied client
Kadi Morand, a freelance trainer, said that unsatisfied clients are the greatest stumbling block that trainers must overcome. With more businesses turning to training, having clear guidelines about what training will cover is vital.

In one instance, Morand was teaching Windows 95 to a legal support staff group. While the rest of the class was enjoying the lesson, one student refused to even look at the desktop.

After Morand asked the student what was wrong, the student told her that she didn’t need to learn what Morand was teaching and that she had other things to learn. It turns out that the student “wanted me to ‘set’ her system so it would ‘boot’ straight into her processor and then wanted me to correct some macros in a document she was building.”

Morand had contracted only for Windows 95 navigation and use within the law firm’s network. However, after Morand explained her responsibilities, the student called the firm and accused Morand of trying to defraud the company. She also recommended that Morand not be paid. Though the dispute ended up in arbitration, a review of the contract showed that Morand was on solid ground.

“In conclusion, I learned that it may be more important to state clearly what should not be expected, which is often overlooked, even in needs assessments,” Morand said.

Preview the course
Dave Flynn, a MCT who has trained at both ATEC and non-ATEC schools, suggested that those interested in a training center should sit in on a class with which you’re already familiar.

 “Watch the students and see if they are understanding what the instructor is saying,” Flynn said. “It helps if you have some knowledge of the topic so you can tell if the instructor knows what he is talking about.”

For certification classes, Flynn also recommends finding out what certifications an instructor has, how many students usually complete a course, and how many gain certification. Also, find out the placement rate for students and where they’re working. Are they landing in IT jobs or on the third shift at the quickie mart?

Flynn says it’s also wise to talk to some of the students: “They will rarely tell you that the school is bad, but you can tell if they are learning what they need to learn.”

Evaluate trainers
At the Meadowlands Learning Center in East Rutherford, NJ, Carol Every, a senior educational consultant, said her company evaluates its staff or trainers as well as new hires to ensure they’re qualified. A prospective trainer, for example, is observed teaching a class at the center and graded on subject knowledge, teaching methods, and rapport with students. Trainers are then reviewed every six months by fellow trainers and must continue training in their subject.

Industry hurt by shortcuts
Phil Shortell, owner of The Fourth R of Salinas, contended that others could benefit by following the advice found in “Choosing the right training center.”

“Our industry [computer training] is injured by too many companies that cut corners by using outdated equipment and instructors with little or no understanding of the profession of education,” Shortell said.
It’s easy to remember your favorite teacher. How about your favorite trainer? Has there been a course where the trainer was almost perfect? What does the ideal trainer do to help students learn the subject matter? Tell us what you think makes an effective trainer by posting a comment below or sending us an e-mail .
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