Not a Captivate tutorial…. I have been asked to post some articles about my experiences (professor/trainer) related to the use of eLearning assets. This post would be an introduction, explaining my background as trainer and teacher, and my personal guidelines for efficient (software) training, whether live or online. No theoretical approachat all , would welcome discussions, feel free to post comments.
As a civil engineer (not same meaning in Belgium as in USA, is highest technical diploma in engineering) I started my career as researcher (model testing for instability problems with shell structures, both in concrete and in steel). I also graduated as professional musician (flute and chamber music). The researcher attitude acquired at the start of my career still exists and was a great support my later career as professor, teacher trainer. Although I have collaborated with many European educational institutes, the remainder of my career was in Flanders, Dutch speaking region in Belgium. This is rather important, because approach to education is totally different in the French speaking region of Belgium. I have been giving guest courses in French university colleges, know the difference very well. Being a passionate learner myself, I see teaching/training as one of the most amazing professions! Had a lot of fun.
Short overview of the kind of students/trainees I have been coaching:
- Children, adolescents and adults in music school (flute). Perhaps the ideal situation since it is based on a one-to-one coaching and relationship. Delicate as well for the same reason.
- Young adults (18-23 years): technical topics, labs and software training in university college. Both live classes and distant learning.
- Professionals: cost management, project management using ICT
- Jobless graduates (bachelor degree): use of ICT for management of building sites, part of 6-month day course
- Jobless immigrants with engineer’s or architect diploma: project manager and main trainer in a 3-months full day course to prepare them for Belgian industry
- Colleagues in university college: introduction to eLearning with Adobe Captivate, image editing with Photoshop, using InDesign for professional documents, using Acrobat efficiently (administration people)
- eLearning professionals in European companies: live classes Adobe Captivate both basic and advanced
- eLearning experts in North America, Australia, Europe: online personal training Adobe Captivate
I didn’t include the multitude of presentations I gave live and online, that is not the ‘real’ training I want to talk about, it is more linked with my performances as musician.
- Any training fails if the trainee doesn’t take responsibility for his/her learning.
This is valid for any training, but more so for software training. A Captivate user, looking for an advanced training required that the trainer would guarantee the skills to be acquired after a training. That is simply impossible! Training is never a ‘one way interaction’: the level and outcome of a training depends as much on the attitude of the trainee (or even more) as on the skills of the trainer. Most know about my viewpoint on ‘certificates’…. Whenever possible the content of a training should be decided in collaboration between trainer and trainees. How I try to realize this both in live and online classes, will be explained in a later post about personalized training.
- Step-by-step tutorials are fine but just as supplementary, not main assets: understanding the workflow and being able to transfer workflows to different situations is a lot more important. Learning assets of good quality help, but if you have the luxury of a live training, focus on understanding workflows should be the first goal.
- Passive learning assets (video) are less efficient than interactive assets, including self-assessments. This statement is based on feedback mainly from my college students when I started using eLearning assets. Some even told me bluntly: throw away those videos! They even liked assessments, way of testing their acquired skills. Captivate was the ideal authoring tool to me.
- Flipped class setting is essential for software training. Repeating: ‘having a trainer is a luxury’! This is even more valid for corporate training than in a formal training like colleges. Use the limited number of contact hours for problem solving and ind-depth exploring. Avoid wasting time by demonstrating workflows which can be acquired individually without a trainer. It was also ‘flipping’ the mind of my students when I started with this concept of flipped classes, but after some time the majority appreciated the efficiency. That problem is much less prominent with the classes for companies or with personalized training.
- Trainees/trainer are humans: the social aspect of learning is often neglected when talking about eLearning. The results, the output of any training (live, online or even not synchronized) benefits if emotions are involved. Of course this is easier in live classes than in online training. Storytelling is one of the means to arouse emotions and can be embedded in eLearning assets. Interaction between learners (discussions, social media, peer teaching, meetings) can reinforce the learning effects. This is linked with the very first point, because it increases the responsibility sense. I had amazing results with some project-based learning, which I will explain in a later post.
- Training will be more engaging when working on projects close to the situation of the learner. My approach for personalized training (see later) proves that daily. Engagement is enhanced, no time is spent to understand the topic of trainer-created examples without relationship to the learner’s environment.
- Be flexible in topics and time schedule during training sessions: remember this Flemish proverb ‘same hat is not fitting every head’. Accept that every learner has different needs, skills. That is not always easy in class training. Have a look at this testimonial by one of the trainees in a live class which I coached last year.
Whether coaching a live training or a training online, I keep these 8 guidelines always in mind.
Looking forward to comments!