4 Things You Must Consider to Customize Technical Training Properly

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4 Things You Must Consider to Customize Technical Training Properly

Customization is key to ensure training sticks and is relevant to your talent once they’re back on the job. But to customize properly, you must consider people, project, platform and productivity.

Too often learning leaders discount the importance of training customization, and just as often they pay the price – wasted time, wasted effort, and an audience with even less motivation to learn than before they were trained.

People: The first thing to consider in order to customize a learning experience properly is the audience. What is their background? Do they have exposure to a particular programming language? What’s their role in the organization?

Let’s say someone works in quality assurance pressing buttons to see if software works, and they’re going to start writing software for a living. The training they’ll need is different than someone who knows C Sharp but now wants to learn Java. Defining their role and their level of experience will help determine what training should address first.

You also need to know their comfort level with the technology and their interest in learning. If someone is totally new to something but is willing to learn – you can teach them. Someone who is not willing to learn or is afraid to try something new – you can’t. For employees who don’t want to learn it can help to make them comfortable, show them how training will make things easier, how it will make them quicker and more efficient at their job.

Project: You also need project details to customize training properly. For instance, are the developers in your training audience enhancing an existing software program or building a brand new application from scratch?

In agile methodology you take a job, break it into small parts, and attack it. It’s the same with technical training. In order to train on devices or programs you have to show developers how they can use them, or provide shortcuts they can use, on the job.

Think about it like word problems in math. If this div tag isn’t working for Billy, and Sally can’t figure out where to put her href for the image, what do you do? Break training into smaller parts. Show how those parts play together in the full picture, and do it in a way that’s similar to how participants will need to use it every day.

Platform: The project part is how your developers will get their work done and what tools they’ll need. The platform piece of training customization discusses where your technical talent will actually do their work.

Sometimes where you work is as important as how you work because each platform has strengths and weaknesses. Windows based PCs can create whatever you want, but if the wonderful program you’re training people on has a problem with something else the company uses, you can’t teach effectively.

In Apple’s walled garden as long as you apply to their developers program you can make things, and they make sure everything inside that walled garden works. You have to understand where your developers work so you can understand how things are interrelated and how they get their jobs done.

Productivity: Productivity refers to the expectation the business has for training application once back on the job. That speaks to core competencies. Post training, the expectation is by the end of week one developers can do this. By the end of week two they can do that. By the end of week three they’ll be able to do this. You want to make training as holistic as possible, but you also want to offer specifics that are part of the device or parts of the program they’ll be using most often.

Training should illustrate how your technical talent will use a software suite or programming language immediately, and what things might be in the pipeline three or six months down the road. It should also be tailored so that participants get more time with things they’re going to use on a regular basis. There should be a roadmap to the information they need.

The goal for training is to increase your return on investment, your bottom line or whatever deliverable is your key performance indicator after you buy a software suite or a physical product for someone to use to make them more productive. Training has to give people core competencies, but it should also be customized so they can begin to deliver on the promise of the software or programming language they’re learning as quickly as possible.