Friday, June 10, 2005

There has to be a Better Way!

Recently, I've been listening to some tapes of our training sessions and there has to be a better way! I don't blame the trainers - it's hard to see the forest when you're thrashing through the bushes.

My company trains our customers' staff how to use our software. We don't do this to be nice. Our sales depend a lot on word of mouth and referals so we need happy users. And, so far, the best way we've found to get happy users is to train them. (Even that doesn't always work, but it seems to help!)

The big question is: what is the best way to train people to use a complex software package. Actually, that's not the whole problem. Sometimes it's a matter of trying to train them to operate their business, which shouldn't be our problem, but it tends to get in the way of our goal of happy users.

I've got to think about this some more, but some initial thoughts are:
  • don't waste time on a lot of details that the user couldn't care less about
  • don't just lecture - they won't remember so it's a waste of time
  • focus on what they need to know to start using the software
  • treat it more like "consulting" rather than "teaching"
I'm always suspicious of technical "solutions" to people problems, but I wonder if "screencasts" that covered small parts of the software would be a good addition to our documentation and to the training process. I've been impressed by Jon Udell's screencasts so I bought a copy of Camtasia to see what we can do with it. I also want to try it for Suneido.

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