How do your end users get technical training? According to a recent TechRepublic poll, many businesses are recruiting their in-house technical trainers from the ranks of the team help desk. That approach makes sense when you consider that help desk specialists are (or are supposed to be) skilled at using and explaining the applications they support.

However, answering help desk questions by e-mail or by phone is very different from conducting a training class. Great technical trainers aren’t born; they must be—you guessed it—trained.

This week, I invite you to download TechRepublic’s Technical Trainer’s Toolkit, which is aimed at helping you launch your own train-the-trainer program.

What’s in the kit
The kit contains information to make it easier for your help desk analysts to become confident, effective trainers. In the document’s introductory document, you’ll find reprints of some of TechRepublic’s most popular training articles written by yours truly and by fellow contributing authors Schoun Regan and Bruce Maples. In the download, you will find these articles:

  • “Creating classes: Ask the five Ws and an H”
  • “Nudge your trainers outside of their comfort zones”
  • “Trainers: Just say no to ‘uh’ and ‘um'”
  • “Warm up your voice before class to improve the way you sound”
  • “Getting the most out of tag-team training”
  • “It takes all kinds to learn”
  • “How to use questions effectively during training”
  • “Don’t overlook the importance of proper ergonomics in your training rooms”
  • “Know the write ways to use your whiteboard”
  • “Don’t cut corners by skipping (or not paying attention to) your training evaluations”
  • “Borrow this tip from Army training to keep students alert”

Customize our templates
The kit also includes a number of templates guaranteed to save you time. By taking advantage of these ready-to-customize documents, your trainers can spend more time focusing on their lesson plans.

  • Take your seats. We’ve assembled five different seating charts for your new trainers. Although you may not use the seating charts to assign seats, filling them out can help the instructor remember students’ names.
  • Congratulations on passing the course. Most students appreciate receiving a Certificate of Completion at the end of training. They love hanging the certificates on their cubicle or office walls. Our sample certificate is easy to customize—just add fancy paper and fill in the title of the class and the students’ names.
  • Get your feedback here. Fledgling trainers don’t always see the value in evaluations and will be tempted not to do them. However, I cannot overstate the importance of getting feedback from your students. The kit contains two evaluation forms—one for the students to give feedback, and one for the instructor to use in evaluating his or her own performance.
  • Quantify your IT training needs. Training isn’t only for end users. You can use TechRepublic’s IT Training/Skills Assessment matrix to identify the kinds of training (and cross-training) needed by the in-house IT staff.
  • Showtime: Training Help Desk Analysts to be Trainers. Use this PowerPoint slide to introduce new technical trainers to the “train the trainer” sessions.

Set your training goals
The ready-to-use templates in the Technical Trainer’s Toolkit are intended to save time by eliminating some of the administrative overhead required to conduct internal training classes. The articles in the kit will help your technical trainers create a clear lesson plan and communicate the lesson in a manner that is easily understood by all learners.

When you recruit help desk analysts to provide in-house training for end users, remind them to keep in mind the ultimate goal of that training: to increase the level of technical proficiency and expertise that the company’s employees need to do their jobs.

Download the kit
You can download our Technical Trainer’s Toolkit by following this link or by clicking on the Downloads link in the navigation bar at the top of this page. TechRepublic’s Downloads section features hundreds of useful documents, templates, and applications available for download. New downloads are added frequently, so be sure to check out the other offerings.

The Technical Trainer’s Toolkit download contains Microsoft Word documents, Adobe PDF files, and a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation. To increase download speed, we’ve zipped these files together, so you will need a utility such as WinZip or PKZIP to expand the zipped file. You will also need Microsoft PowerPoint and either Microsoft Word or a PDF file reader, such as Adobe’s Acrobat Reader, to view the respective documents.

Put in your two cents

To comment on TechRepublic’s starter kit for new technical trainers, or to share your own favorite training tips, please post a comment below or write to Jeff.