4 Ways To Supercharge IT Training - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
IT Leadership // Team Building & Staffing
News
5/24/2012
04:19 PM
Connect Directly
LinkedIn
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

4 Ways To Supercharge IT Training

Is your company's IT training stuck in the 'same old' rut? Here are some tips to make sure employees get the most out of your IT training dollars.

10 iPad Cases For Summer
10 iPad Cases For Summer
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Faced with tighter training budgets, many IT leaders are looking for new ways to develop their workforces. However, many businesses are realizing that "the old training methods just don't work anymore," said Tom Graunke, founder and chief storyteller at Arizona-based IT training firm StormWind. Forget about courses that drag on for days. According to Graunke, there are four ways companies can supercharge their IT training modules for maximum impact.

1) Cut to the chase. The name of the game should be IT training, not torture. "Traditionally, the IT training model has required employees to spend eight hours a day learning a new Cisco or Microsoft technology," said Graunke. "It's mind-numbing. People don't have time anymore for a 45-minute intro. Just cut to the chase."

Graunke recommends companies whittle down their training content by as much as 75%. Whether teaching employees how to troubleshoot a Cisco router or install software patches, Graunke said, "courses should cut to what people need to know. IT training, in general, has a tendency to be 180-page chapters in a 1,500-page book. Instead, it should be about what an IT professional needs to know to install this piece of equipment right now--not about learning the 17 commands they may never use."

[ Read Are You A Bad IT Manager? ]

By distilling lessons down to must-know info, delivered in short intervals, Graunke promises employees will consume knowledge at a higher rate and retain it more easily. Additional learning materials can then be provided online or through interactive channels with an instructor.

2) Think like Spielberg. Having trouble seeing through your car windshield? According to Graunke, increasing numbers of people "go to YouTube to learn how to change the wipers on their car" and accomplish other fairly simple but non-traditional household tasks. IT training shouldn't be any different.

"Everything is so visual that if you take IT training content and surround it by multimedia, from a learning perspective, a company can cut training time by over 50%," said Graunke. That's because it's easier to capture the attention of IT professionals with fast-moving content, quality video, and entertaining effects.

Fortunately for IT leaders, Graunke said it's not about producing the next summer blockbuster. Rather, he said IT training is about "creating visual learning sentences. Not just a sentence to explain something but a visual learning sentence that tells your story with a picture."

3) Create winners. Another way to keep staff interested is gamification--the art of creating social scoring for training activities, such as who can complete a lab the fastest and who received the highest score on a post-learning test. "The video game Diablo 3 just came out and sold nine million copies in 48 hours," said Graunke. "That fundamental mindset of scoring and competing is already embedded within the IT industry. Why not leverage it? Now learning goes from being painful to being a source of pride. IT professionals are challenging themselves to get better and they're doing it through training that makes it fun."

4) Keep it human. Despite its bottom-line benefits, Graunke said IT leaders need to think twice before replacing live instructors with cursors and keyboards. "Something went terribly wrong with e-learning. It's a miserable failure," he said. "It's cheap and it's anytime and anywhere but can you name the last time you did something in e-learning that you thought was amazing? What we're missing is the human element."

According to Graunke, the presence of an instructor actually increases a student's ability to learn and absorb material. Whether it's a live chat or an interactive classroom, being able to connect with a living and breathing human being helps "knowledge retention rise dramatically," he said.

At this year's InformationWeek 500 Conference C-level execs will gather to discuss how they're rewriting the old IT rulebook and accelerating business execution. At the St. Regis Monarch Beach, Dana Point, Calif., Sept. 9-11.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
jjr
50%
50%
jjr,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/1/2012 | 10:18:57 AM
re: 4 Ways To Supercharge IT Training
I agree with both comments. Todays workplace is "Do more with Less" . Who has a training budget?
I totally disagree with just focusing training on the specific task at hand. If I am going to spend time learning a product, would I not be more prepaired when the item breaks if I know how to trouble shoot it?
In the heat of the battle, should you stop to educate yourself or be able to put out the fires?
humberger972
50%
50%
humberger972,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/29/2012 | 3:17:20 PM
re: 4 Ways To Supercharge IT Training
Who has a training budget .... like BYOD... companies expect you to pay for your own training.
WMANSELL000
50%
50%
WMANSELL000,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/29/2012 | 1:53:13 PM
re: 4 Ways To Supercharge IT Training
Consultant's approach. totally dismisses the realities of today. Used to be there were 10, 15, or 20 people at a single location, now there are 4 or 5. How do you take these people off the job and sit them in a class room? Technology is changing so rapidly you have trouble building the courses to keep up never mind hire lots of trainers, train them and have them deliver the content.

Your approach would work well for static content, such as "How to make a sales pitch", but not relevant to the technical side of things which is where the telecom companies really need some help.
Slideshows
9 Steps Toward Ethical AI
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  5/15/2019
Commentary
How to Convince Wary Customers to Share Personal Information
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author,  6/17/2019
Commentary
The Art and Science of Robot Wrangling in the AI Era
Guest Commentary, Guest Commentary,  6/11/2019
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
A New World of IT Management in 2019
This IT Trend Report highlights how several years of developments in technology and business strategies have led to a subsequent wave of changes in the role of an IT organization, how CIOs and other IT leaders approach management, in addition to the jobs of many IT professionals up and down the org chart.
Slideshows
Flash Poll