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User Training for Busy Programmers

Book Description

Develop effective software training classes quickly and easily

  • A complete guide to creating software training courses and materials

  • Concise and practical step-by-step approach

  • Check-lists ensure that you are fully prepared

  • Based on proven educational techniques

  • In Detail

    If you need to write a successful software training course and are unsure of how to start, then this book gets right to the point with clear, concise directions for developing an end-user software course. This step-by-step job aid walks you through the process of developing a successful, instructor-led software class.

    There are many good books on training theory. This book takes a more practical, condensed approach for when you don't have time to learn training theory. It is based on fifteen years of technical writing and training experience. In under 100 pages, the book guides you through the process of developing an end-user software course using a method that is tested, proven, and based upon sound instructional theory.

    William Rice has spent over 20 years developing software training, user documentation, and knowledge management solutions with some of the biggest companies in the United States. During that time, he has built up a unique understanding of the training industry that lead him to writing this book.

    "Even though software training has come into its own as a profession, I still see many situations where programmers and customer service reps are called upon to develop and deliver training. These people can easily find targeted, concise information about how to teach and speak effectively. But I noticed that almost every book I saw on developing training courses required the reader to wade through a lot training theory. In even the most concise books, it's as if the author feels the need to justify the techniques presented by giving the theory behind them. I saw a need for a book that just says, "Here's what's worked for me during the past twenty years. If you want to know the theory behind it, just do a search on 'adult learning theory.' But if you don't have time for that, start at page one and let's get started..."

    If you are a busy programmer or software professional who's lumbered with the job of training users then this book is for you. It gives you step-by-step instructions to developing your software class. Without getting bogged down for a second in education theory, you will be developing successful training courses in no time.

    Table of Contents

    1. User Training for Busy Programmers
      1. User Training for Busy Programmers
      2. Credits
      3. About the Author
      4. Preface
        1. What This Book Covers
        2. Conventions
        3. Reader Feedback
        4. Customer Support
          1. Errata
          2. Questions
      5. 1. Introduction
        1. Misconceptions about Training
          1. Myth: Your Software Training Class should be about the Software
          2. Myth: Your Students Want or Need to Know It All
          3. Myth: In a Training Class, the Instructor Must Answer All of the Students’ Questions
          4. Myth: When Teaching Software, You Should Begin at the Beginning
        2. Haven’t we Solved these Problems with IDS?
        3. The Checklist
          1. Step 1: The Setup
            1. Set Criteria and Get Buy-In
          2. Step 2: Develop In-class Exercises
            1. Test and Revise Exercise Files
          3. Step 3: Develop Lectures
          4. Step 4: Develop the Demo
          5. Step 5: Package the Course
            1. The Student Guide
            2. The Instructor Guide
          6. Step 6: Set Up and Test Run
            1. Test the Room Setup
            2. Practice Run
            3. Revise the Course
            4. Develop Follow-up Materials
          7. Step 7: Deliver the Course
        4. Summary
      6. 2. The Setup
        1. Who Needs to be Trained?
          1. Action
            1. Audience (Select One)
            2. Type of Information to Cover for this Audience (Select All that are Applicable)
        2. Write the Learning Objectives
          1. Checkpoint
          2. Action
        3. Is This a Need that a Training Class Can or Should Fulfill?
          1. Checkpoint
          2. Action
        4. What Scenario will give your Clients the Most Realistic Experience in the Classroom?
          1. Define the Process
          2. One Process or Several?
          3. Checkpoint
          4. Action
        5. Develop a Training Scenario
          1. What is a Training Scenario?
          2. A Special Case: Software Toolkits
          3. The Scenario
          4. Checkpoint
          5. Action
        6. Write an Exercise Description for Each Learning Objective
          1. Examples of Learning Objectives and Exercise Descriptions
            1. Example 1
              1. Objective
              2. Exercise Description
            2. Example 2
              1. Objective
              2. Exercise Description
          2. Checkpoint
          3. Action
        7. Set the Criteria for Success
          1. Action: Write Criteria for Success
          2. Checkpoint
        8. Get Buy-in from Sponsors
        9. Summary
      7. 3. Develop In-class Exercises
        1. Prepare Software for the Exercises
          1. Checkpoint
          2. Action
        2. Write the Directions
          1. Save a Version of the Data after Each Exercise
          2. Extended Example of Exercise Directions
        3. Writing Style for Directions
          1. Sentence Structure: Put Conditional Phrases First
          2. Start Each Numbered Step with an Action
          3. State the Result of Each Action
          4. Use the Second Person
          5. Differentiate Button Pushes, Menu Items, and the Text Displayed on Screen
          6. Separate Nested Menu Items
          7. Action
        4. Test and Revise the Exercise Files
          1. Return the Training Files and Development Workstation to its Pre-Class Condition
          2. Step Through the Exercise Directions
          3. Checkpoint
          4. Action
        5. Summary
      8. 4. Develop Lectures
        1. Develop Lectures Around the Exercises
        2. A Structured Approach to Developing Lectures
          1. List of Suggested Slides
            1. Unit Title
            2. Purpose
            3. When is This Procedure Performed?
            4. Who Performs this Procedure?
            5. What Information is Entered During this Procedure?
            6. What Processing does the System Perform on the Data Entered During this Procedure?
            7. What is the Result of this Procedure?
            8. Special Fields
            9. Demonstration
            10. Exercise
            11. Review
            12. Questions?
          2. Checkpoint
          3. Action
        3. Summary
      9. 5. Develop the Demo
        1. Write the Demo Instructions
        2. Use Unique Data for the Demo
        3. Developing a Demo — Key Steps
        4. Write the Demo Speaking Points
          1. How to Write Demo Speaking Points
            1. Example of Demo Directions with Speaking Points
          2. Checkpoint
          3. Action
        5. Summary
      10. 6. Package the Course
        1. The Student Guide
          1. Table of Contents
          2. Introduction
            1. State the Goals of the Course
            2. Describe the Intended Audience
            3. List Prerequisites
            4. Duration and Class Size
            5. Training Group Contact Information
          3. Printouts of the Slides
          4. Directions for the In-class Exercises
          5. Resources and Contacts
        2. The Instructor Guide
          1. Table of Contents
          2. Introduction
          3. Printouts of the Slides
          4. Directions for the In-class Exercises
          5. Resources and Contacts
          6. Slide Show Files
        3. Checkpoint
        4. Action
        5. Summary
      11. 7. Setup and Test Run
        1. Test the Room Setup
        2. Practice Run
          1. Action
        3. Develop Follow-up Materials
          1. Example of a Follow-up Course Evaluation
            1. Checkpoint
            2. Action
        4. Summary
      12. 8. Deliver the Course
        1. Presenting your Course
        2. Summary
      13. 9. A Final Note