You’re the new computer trainer in your organization—not only the new one, but the first one! You have some experience, but you feel a bit alone. There are no other trainers or even very many IT people at your company. Nevertheless, you have a lot of basic training to deliver. If you are looking for some quick training tips and “training conversation,” read on. Kevin Eikenberry reviews a promising website—Loretta’s Training Resource Center —you’ll want to visit today.
Newsletters and the Web
Loretta’s Training and Resource Center isn’t the biggest site you’ll visit this week. It isn’t the most “professional,” and it certainly isn’t the most complex. But it does offer some great training ideas, neatly packaged in several newsletters published by the site owner. In addition to Training News and a Job Bank, this site contains the following three e-zines, guaranteed both to educate and to entertain:
- Quick Training Tips
- The Microcomputer Trainer
- True Training Tales
Quick training tips
The Quick Training Tips Section contains the last four issues of the newsletter (currently #54-57). You will also find an archive of past tips, although it doesn’t appear to be complete. The Newsletters increase in size depending on how many readers respond to questions posted on the site. The most recent issue features 12 new questions as well as answers to previously asked questions. Here’s an example:
In QTT#56 Bob Lowe asked, “I’m looking for a used LCD projector. Can anyone recommend how or where to go about purchasing one?”
I would recommend contacting an audio visual equipment company that rents LCD projectors. I was able to purchase a used projector in that fashion at way below the original cost. They even allowed me to use the equipment prior to purchasing it and they had many models to choose from. The downside to this is that I didn’t have access to newer projectors, but to the older ones they wanted to replace.
Technology Training Specialist
Santa Clara University
Palo Alto Medical Foundation
And here is an example of the kinds of tips you will find in this site (this one is from 9/5/99):
LEARN FROM LIBERACE! In my train-the-trainer classes I advise instructors to use “the Liberace approach.” Liberace once said, “The people who come to my concerts aren’t sophisticated music lovers. So when I play a complex piece of music, I keep the melody out front.” That’s exactly what trainers need to do: keep the “melody” out front by letting students know exactly what you plan to teach and why you’re teaching it to them. It’s not sufficient to tell them what a command does. Explain how to make real-life use of each application feature.
I encourage trainers to check out all of the newsletters for good analogies to use when teaching specific computer topics. Analogies play an important role in the learning process, particularly when basic concepts are being taught, and several of the analogies included in this site are excellent.
The MicroComputer Trainer and True Trainer Tales
The MicroComputer Trainer contains several archived articles that are worth a visit. Be sure to check out “Sex and the Computer Trainer,” a G-rated article about gender differences and their effect on teaching computer skills. In the True Trainer Tales section you will find short stories with a more whimsical, Reader’s Digest feel. You are sure to relate to some of the training stories sent in by your peers around the world.
Two words came to mind as I reviewed this site: promise and serendipity. Promise because this site is new and it shows all the signs of getting better with age. And serendipity because you won’t come away from this site without having learned something useful. I encourage you to visit Loretta’s Training Resource Center , and if you like what you see, sign up for one of the newsletters.
If you have found a training site you’d like for us to review, please write to Kevin . If you’d like to comment on this review, please post your comments below.
Kevin Eikenberry is president of the Discian Group , a learning consulting company in Indianapolis, IN.