Digital Libraries Network is for health librarians and trainers in the UK, interested in promotion and training.

Thursday, July 10, 2003

Training tips

Here are the tips suggested at yesterday's DLnet masterclass.

Tips for planning training
These tips related to planning for your trainees' needs....

- Find out as much as you can about users and what interests them
- Train people with common interests so the session can be tailored
- Ensure learners have basic IT skills
- Learn your topic well beforehand

...and for possible mishaps:

- Check any databases/resources beforehand to make sure they are working and haven't changed since you last used them
- Check suitability of the venue before training
- When training at an external site after hours check that the switchboard does not bar outside calls – I checked everything during working hours and didn’t imagine we wouldn’t get an outside line after 5pm (Diane Thompson)
- Check all the technology works beforehand – check for double bookings of rooms, machines etc – and check connections work
- Ensure that user accounts are set up in advance for training using licensed resources
- Make sure software versions are compatible
- Beware live internet demos– have an offline back up or alternative activity just in case
- Allow extra time for travel

A key message was that trainers have to be flexible.

Tips for designing training
Think clearly about what you are trying to achieve - some ideas:

- Set clear learning objectives and/or aims for the session
- Have very defined course pre-requisites
- Make sure trainees know purpose of training before they come and ask them to think of their goals before arriving
- Never overestimate trainees’ knowledge and skills
- Don’t try to show people too many resources – concentrate on key resources
- Contextualise as far as possible (Kay Moore)
- Keep training materials up to date - remember to check any exercises and search strategies
- Display basic tips on literature searching on your website or near computers (L Ristic)
- Display a Hierarchy of resources of evidence card/leaflet next to computers (L Ristic)
- Allow time for reflection (Kay Moore)

Tips for delivering training
A key message is to focus on the trainee(s):

- Don’t give out too much paper
- Use "bribery" – e.g. food, drinks
- Assess what trainers have learned to keep them interested
- Get feedback from your learners
- Design quick reference cards to hand out
- Keep it brief
- Use graphics in presentations
- Use humour
- Make instructions for breakout groups very clear
- Keep slides clear – not too much text


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