I’ve been sitting in Vignette’s Content Management System Administration training class for a day-and-a-half now. The good news is that I’m learning a lot about VCM that I never knew before and even more about content management in general. We’ll save that topic for another blog post, but for now I’d like to talk about the the eight simple ways to make a truly awesome training class.

  1. Make absolutely sure the instructor of the class has never taught the class before. Maybe it’s a brand new class or maybe it’s a brand new instructor. Either way, if they’ve never taught the class before they’re likely not going to be able to answer the majority of the questions the students ask them.
  2. Teach the class with PowerPoint slides that contain only a white background with black font and a company logo at the bottom. Every once in a while throw in a confusing diagram, which the instructor struggles to explain since this is their first time teaching the material, to keep things interesting. Under no circumstances should you put any graphics on the slides other than the aforementioned diagrams. Graphics, fonts, and transitions are way too entertaining for a serious company like yours.
  3. When you teach a System Administration class, assume that your students have already installed the product so there’s no need to have them go through the installation steps themselves. Give them a VM image with the software pre-installed and use the powerpoint to show them how good you are at installing the product. It will instill confidence in the students in your knowledge and training abilities.
  4. Since you are already providing the students with a pre-installed VM machine, there’s no point in having several different images for your different product trainings. Merge them all onto the same VM image. Certainly this won’t confuse your students at all and it’s much easier for you to maintain a single VM image.
  5. Advertise that the training is for the version of your product that everyone is using, but then provide the training materials and slides for the newer version. You’re sure to get more students this way and now you’re able to show off the new-and-improved features of the other version. Once they see how great the new version is they’ll run off to upgrade as soon as they get back to the office.
  6. Provide a large fridge in the classroom and fill it with only Coke, Sprite, and Diet Dr. Pepper. Do not provide your students with water. No drinking fountains, no faucets, and certainly no water coolers. We all know that soda is mostly water and they could certainly use the sugar to keep them awake during the training.
  7. When deciding upon a location for the training, pick a spot with no windows as they provide too much of a distraction. Basements make an excellent location for training classes. If possible, have the classroom located next to some sort of employee common area. The students will hear the laughter of the employees and simultaneously think about what a great place it must be to work at and how much fun they are having in the training.
  8. Charge extra money for the training and then show the students how gracious you are by providing them with lunch. Don’t order in lunch though. Have the students walk across the parking lot and across the street to the local deli. They won’t mind eating at the same place every day and they could really use the exercise.

Well, that’s it for now. Feel free to comment if you have your own wonderful training experiences to share.