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Conducting A Training Prog. - nervous/confused

My bg:

1) Ex-middle-management-hotelier.
2) Self taught Computer Programmer. Reasonably competent. Or so I am told.
3) Currently (hoping to be known as) an entrepenuer in the S/W field.

Me and this client - 1 year old association:

1) Successfully debugged (actually, implemented from close to scratch, the existing code was obtuse, to say the least) an online sql/asp setup to display examination results of a pretty large educational setup.

2) The above assignment was done as an individual, and I was comfortably compensated for my efforts, but the payment was "off the record".

3) Sundry coding assistance to the man in charge, Mr. X, free of cost, both telephone and in person.

Now, my company has been asked to provide training for one section of the Mr. X's dept. in basic webpage authoring, officially. The traget audience is semi-computer literate, mostly middle aged women, engaging in data entry work.


1) We are not a training shop.

2) None of my colleagues can do the training, to be spread over 5 days, as they are all held up for other reasons.

3) If we take this up, *I* will have to do it.

4) I've never attended, let alone conduct a live CS training session before.  One to one, no problems.
Presentations, Training, per se, I am comfortable with. Just that with Software/Computers, due to my lack of formal exposure, I'd rather my code speak for me.

5) I _want_ to take this up, as the educational organisation in question is a very large consumer of S/W services, and I want a decent size of the pir for my company. This could be as good an official entry as one can get.

So, do I just buck up and practice before mirror and my collegues, or hire a final year student from some college, or...what?



Friday, March 12, 2004

---"I'd rather my code speak for me."----

Kay Jay, you're dealing with middle-aged women involved in data entry. Their eyes will glaze over if you show them any code.

Choose a tool, like Front Page and show them how to set up something simple using it. Don't use any speciific Front Page extensions and switch every now and again to HTML view so they get the idea that the program is creating mark up language.

Even get them to come to the front and use bold tags or something, and then show the result on screen.

Think in terms of a few basic things before you start - like how they link to a picture and the use of tables.

And I suggest you ask the customer exactly what he wants. Is it just a taster or does he want the women to do a specific task, such as update an already written web page?

Stephen Jones
Friday, March 12, 2004

Just a taster. In fact Mr. X himself does not exactly know what to ask for. I have a fairly long rope to do as I please, and therefore have to be that much more careful. ;)

Friday, March 12, 2004

Look at the HTML in 24 hours by SIMS. It should give you some useful ideas.

I still like the idea of getting them to do a sample web site in Front Page. Just don't show them any java script :)

Stephen Jones
Friday, March 12, 2004

Whatever you do, you are going to need resources for it. A room with lots of desks. Computers as identical in setup as you can possibly manage. Etc. Etc. The effort involved is not small.

Hey, why don't you offshore it ;-)

Friday, March 12, 2004

To follow on from Stephen's post, remember it's perfectly ok to teach from a textbook - eg Learn HTMl in 24 hours or something even more basic (Web Design For Dummies?). If you can't run to buying a textbook for each student, I'm certainly not going to suggest you photocopy pertinent pages and create a set of worksheets for each lesson - obviously that would break copyright. Use FrontPage or even Word.

Friday, March 12, 2004

D&rfc, LOL! Scroll down!

What I was thinking of was something like the following. Frontpage? OK. Will do so.

1) Content finalisation.
2) Frontpage. Notepad to show that it is after all only a Markup.
.....2a) Content entry
.....2b) Basic formatting
.....2c) Minimalistic page layout with tables and maybe frames
.....2d) Hyperlinking including downloading of non-textual data
3) I was thinking of some basic Forms handling, using Frontpage's wizard to send emails.
4) FTP commands to put into operation the whole jing bang.

Presentations on a PC hooked up to a projector, with paper handouts as a sort of a ready reckoner, and a sandbox in one of the dept.'s server. Each person already has access to a machine of their own.

The above setup was thought of to setup a basic "blog", as in a personal web page, to share information among co-workers. Kids photographs, "e-post-it" notes, sharing of files, etc. The dept. has a dedicated server that can be configured to handle this additional stuff. I want them to actually use what they would be building, rather than just showing slide after slide and then hand over those very same slides on paper.



PS: Where do I offshore to? <g>

Friday, March 12, 2004

I hear China's cheap this year...

On a more serious note, I think the actual doing is at least as important as your slides (hence my mention of having a bunch of computers they can use), but then that might be just my personal learning style.

Friday, March 12, 2004

They'll have to do things to learn them.  And they'll have to do them repeatedly.  And they'll start from "ground zero".

Make your first three lessons dead simple.  Then make them even simpler.  Your goal is to give them early confidence in their abilities.  Tell them web page authoring is simple, that your 10-year-old kid could teach this course.

Focus on end-user tasks, not on terminology.

Teach one thing in each lesson.  If it builds on something taught in a previous lesson, the exercise for that lesson should require them to use the previously taught knowledge.  If it introduces something new, you need two exercises: one that lets them learn how to do the new thing in isolation, and one that forces them to tie it in with something they already know.

Should be working
Friday, March 12, 2004

There are several qualified training organizations that exist for this sort of thing, so you could outsource to one of them.  For example New Horizons, Executrain... or search Microsoft's website ( ) for other training providers.  These companies usually have their own cookie cutter material which can usually be "enhanced" for custom classes to include client specifics (usually at am extra cost).

It's not the material that makes a good training session.  It's the instructor.  The instructors knowledge AND their ability to get the information out there in an way that makes sense.

Friday, March 12, 2004

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