Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Hey, I was a teacher for 2 days

I had to conduct a Technical Training this week. It’s been ages since I did project deployment. In other words, ‘sudah berkarat’. Since my name was committed to deliver the training since the project started, I had to do it. It was a two days training. I had to finish reading 5 ‘thick’ online manuals before I was confident enough to do it.

It’s easy to show engineers how to do things, but when it comes to explaining the theory behind it – well, it involved losing a few nights’ sleep. That’s how difficult it was (for me). Maybe that’s why the thought of becoming a teacher/lecturer never crossed my mind.

A few years ago, I had to conduct a 5 days training to 12 government officers. I didn’t know then that most of them never used the product. I spenta few weeks preparing the course material. Complete with servers for them to do their hands-on lab. So, during the training I noticed many blurred faces. I tried re-phrasing some of the explanations many times. Still, they were showing blanked eyes. It’s either they’re miles away or have fallen asleep with their eyes opened.

So, I learned my lessons. This time, on the first day before I started my first lesson I distributed quiz questions. There were 6 of them. All were simple and general questions relating to the product. The training participants took 10 minutes to answer and they failed the quiz. We discussed the questions and I gave them the correct answers. They nodded and said ‘Oooooooh’ everytime I explained the answers. I knew I was in trouble then. Again, this was the case where beginners were forced to attend advanced classes. *Sigh*

Luckily I have the product simulator software, so I shared it with them. I let them play with the simulator for about 2 hours. After that I went through the important tasks they just did using the simulator; that was when I noticed their enlightened faces. *Phewwww*

I scraped the syllabus earlier planned for them. I had to use a different approach. So, there was no lecture. The training was turned into group discussion – a lot of drawing, a lot of quizzes and case studies.

On the second day, their boss came to see me and asked whether his engineers are good to do deployment. I told him that I let them experiment with the simulator and he was furious!!!! Hahahaha… He expected I would let the engineers to have hands on with their production system. NO WAY! If they screwed up, I’d be the one who had to recover the system. Tak kuasa makcik.

Well, my point is, never take Training Needs Analysis lightly. Technical Training is nothing like giving lessons in school – prepare lesson plan, lecture as according to syllabus, give homework, exam. A lot more preparation needs to be done. If it’s a big Technical Summit then perhaps we won’t have the luxury of time to get to know each participant. But this is providing training to identified engineers. There was ample time to identify their skill level and training needs. Ok, I must suggest this to the management. Ada harapan tak diorang akan setup a Training Department? Hahahahaha… Boleh aku mintak transfer.

*Note: Picture was Googled.


Jade said...

owh.. I so agree... organisations like to send newbies for the trainings. OR people who will not be using the product hands-on (read: management people going for free food maybe plus travel and accommodation).

But I believe your approach was excellent! Bravo!

D.N.A.S said...

usually those who'll need to manage the products didn't even get to go to the 'expensive' trainings. They end up going to free seminars and getting their resources online. The sad thing is they won't ever get the opportunity to do those lab exercises and they'll never be allowed to play around with the production system. Whenever problems occur, they're still the one who have to resolve them. If system is down for too long, they still get the blame. *sigh* Life is unfair...