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User Training issues

By H1lariA ·
I'm sure everyone has run into this. I need some advise. I have a small group of users (65) that have been very used to doing things the "Old Way". We have a new (ok, 3 years old)server, network and are getting a new ERP system that will replace a 25 year old gem. If something changes on the way people are to do things, I send out detailed emails and reference help files in the appropriate application. They don't get read, are deleted or ignored. My boss thinks I need to hold training sessions each time I make a change to bring them up to speed. And then monthly on various application issues. Even when I have done this, it hasn't been retained. I'm a one person IT dept, covering apps, hardware, software, licensing and networking for 65 users. I know it's in my job description but isn't that just a little too much hand holding when I can barely get things done now? Doesn't the user have some responsibility for learning the tools to get their jobs done? Any help on how to get the information to stick? Signed, drowning in Puddletown.

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Make Your Case - no one else will

by kwoods In reply to I feel your pain...

First, whenever I'm told, 'No budget.', I assume I haven't made my case. I need to show whoever I'm asking that the present scenario is costing more money than my solution.

Second, why aren't the users reading your emails and adopting the changes? Have you asked them? Maybe they don't understand what they are supposed to do and you are so busy that they don't want to bother you. Training via email is difficult and you truely don't have time to do much hands-on. I would make a list of my current work with estimated time to completion and an alternate schedule with training added and have a meeting with my boss. Don't ask - tell him/her what will happen and follow the meeting with an email detailing your conversation. Things may not change, but you won't be the scapegoat.

Third, often a boss needs a scapegoat and will be as resistent to your changed ways as your users are to your emails. So, learn as much as you can and dust off your resume. Good Luck!

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Look in-house

by In reply to Two totally different exp ...

I am in the same boat. Several users and a small change and life is over. I have turned to asking certian users to train other users. I arranged time for them to go over the material and let them run the classes. The user looks forward to a change and they get to add training to their resume. Has worked for me.
Hope this helps.

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Parallel Lives

by ljohnson In reply to Two totally different exp ...

This is my life - only we have 100 users and 3 satellite offices! I asked for training, begged. The thing is with my group they are so busy they don't retain things that they do not use on a day to day basis. I am totally stressed out, and it is managements accountability that is missing. In our office it is "do nothing" decision making. There are some people here that adapt but is is not the norm, I have had people literally crying that they cannot take one more change - I say "well find something that suits your learning style, how about a dishwashing job?" Okay, I never said that, but I did think it!

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Same Problem - With Solution

by Bratt In reply to User Training issues

What type of applications are we talking about?
The company I work for now only has 35 users and one admin but because of all the training and implementations that the company has undergone they hired me to help lighten the load two years ago and I am still here. My suggestion would be to go to your local College and see if you can't recruit an instructor to teach these users. The instructor is use to different people some of which are difficult to teach. This is where I would start. I would also ask for some part time IT help. It's been invaluable to my admin with me being here picking up the slack. Hope this helps.

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Thank you for your suggestions.

by H1lariA In reply to Same Problem - With Solut ...

Our current ERP system is a home grown but very comprehensive ERP system written in business basic and 25+ years old. We are upgrading this year since that programmer is retired and not available.
Yes, I believe I am understaffed. We do have a Network group we contract with that comes in once a month to verify that we are running well and help with major issues but it's still my user group and daily task list.
Some very good suggestions inthe post replys! Thanks I'll see about how to use those.

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Be patient

by mauri_1848 In reply to Thank you for your sugges ...


I am in the same problem, just me against 80 users.

The main advice I can give you is "don't lose your patient". It is too easy get crazy with all those users asking for you and all those services waiting for be administer.

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Training is a fabulous opportunity.

by DC_GUY In reply to User Training issues

It helps insulate you from the vagaries of the technology market. It might be worth your time and trouble to adjust your attitude and look upon this as an opportunity. How would you like to be one of those people everyone is telling you to bring in, who earns $75 to $100 per hour?

Not to mention that the skills you learn and practice in order to become a good trainer are extremely useful in many other jobs. Marketing, management, user support, starting your own business. You might even decide to have children some day. A patient person who can spot the listener's weaknesses and work around them, while being persuasive, non-judgmental, a bit humorous, and finding a way to make a discussion meaningful to them personally, is an awfully good parent.

If IT jobs continue to migrate offshore, as I predict they will, the last ones to go will be in training. The cultural and language issues conspire to give natives a tremendous advantage.

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Agreeing with DC_GUY

by rogeryounce1 In reply to Training is a fabulous op ...

I have to agree with DC_GUY. Everything you are doing may not be in your job discription but you are gaining valuable skills and experience in providing the training and services. I am in the Air Force and getting ready to retire. Part of my training as a manager of a network contro center and training in software applications not only gave me the opportunity to work hard, with others and provide training to my peers, it even helped me to eventually take those same skills and start my on computer training business. So look at the experience as a postive one and what you can do with those experiences in the future. Good luck.

Roger Younce
QuickLearn Computer Training Services

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Training Users

by Old Guy In reply to Training is a fabulous op ...

I can't believe there are so many whiners in this field. If you are the only IT person at your company then, yes, it is your responsibility to train users. You might want to speak with the manager to get them to agree to back you up with some potential pressure toward the user after you have shown them three times how to do something. Most people need to be shown or see something at least three times in order to retain it. It is also a good idea to have training sessions with any change. You might also want to find one or two users who can learn quickly and correctly to help you show other users how to use the programs.

You are being paid to do a job--do it. You might think you are having to do more than you should but you are still being paid to do your job. You always have the choice of finding another job if you can't handle the one you have.

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This is what I do!

by Sue's Comment In reply to User Training issues

I use a product called Snagit to grab a snapshot of each screen and annotate it. The user level I use is "sheer ignorance". Every cursor movement and every screen shot is captured on file! The screenshots are annotated and then I transfer them to a pdf file and store the output in a "Training" folder on the server. There are also three "hard" copies one on each floor.

I always train using these notes. If the user forgets something they can either get hold of a hard copy and work through the screens at their own pace or come to me for help. If they come to me I get them to use the training pdf! If I am too busy then management know the training notes work and I can offload the problem without guilt.

The time taken to produce the training pdf is no longer than the time taken to produce a training session but the rewards are far greater! I use a similar technique to explain how to do important and urgent IT tasks (like how to manage a corrupted Access database) to cover for when I am on holiday. They are generally called "Noddy" notes and users actually like them!

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