April 28, 2009

Thoughts on online training...

As with a lot of institutions, most of the required training here is done online. It's done through a site that is poorly laid out and cumbersome to get into (a 14 character/digit/special character password is required and it frequently has to be re-set). Once in there, apparently whatever group is responsible for the training creates the training. There is nothing resembling consistency.

At previous positions, it was simple PowerPoints. You read them, maybe took a short quiz, then completed the training. Here it's a bit different. Almost like some have discovered some new funky technology and it must all be incorporated into the trainingl. I've see everything from extremely busy, cluttered, flashing PowerPoints to plai, nothing but bullet points PowerPoints.

The most recent was a short notice training. Another PowerPoint, but with a few twists I hadn't seen before. One was a timed, boxed highlight of each of the bullet points, forcing you to either read at their speed (slow) or ignore the slowly highlighting bullets and read at your own speed. The worst feature though had to be the flow charts. Yes, the flow charts. Not only was the process documented using flow charts, but the user had to click on each step to read about that part of the process. These were not two or three step flow charts. They were very detailed, mulit-step flow charts.

Going through this training made me realize that not only is it important to convey the information, but it is equally important how that information is conveyed. Just because there are a lot of bells and whistles available, doesn't mean they should be incorporated into the training. Sometimes, simple is best. What do you want to be remembered from the training? The valuable content or the funky presentation?