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Helping Apprehensive Delegates

Helping You Use IT Better

Some people do not look forward to computer training. They get anxious that the course will be too difficult or complex, or stressed by the fear that they will fail in some way. For some people, this is exacerbated if the training is just computer based, without a trainer on hand. Think about it – have you ever been frustrated because a computer doesn't do what you expect or want it to do, or because an automated answering service doesn't give you the option you are looking for? A large part of that frustration is because there is no one on hand to listen to your problem and offer assistance. When you finally find someone to help, the stress usually evaporates.

This is a very real problem that affects people in all walks of life. It's also a problem for your business if you are arranging computer training for employees, because when people are stressed they don't learn very well. All sorts of mental barriers go up, which makes people unreceptive to the information that is being given to them.

So what can you do about it? For a start, if there is no test to pass, make sure you tell prospective delegates this at the outset. That's one fear removed.

If you are considering using computer based training (CBT) – that's automated training without a human instructor, be very careful. CBT is quite popular with very technical people, especially computer staff, because they are generally at ease working with computers and complex technical issues. For everyone else, you are probably better off using an experienced trainer. The most popular form of this is a training class, where an instructor presents the topics to a room of delegates, each sitting at a desk with a PC.

A good instructor will put delegates at ease right from the start. The effect is amplified if you are running a series of training courses. If, during the first training session, delegates get to know and trust the trainer, by the second course they are much more relaxed and often actually looking forward to it. This bodes well for the results your training project will achieve, and hence for your business.

Having a trainer in the room means there is someone on hand to answer questions. A trainer is able to explain things in a variety of ways if delegates are struggling to understand something, and can demonstrate topics to individuals if necessary. Some people will understand it explained one way, others another.

If you are planning a number of classes, try to group delegates together with people they work with or that you know they get on with. Having a familiar, friendly face in the room will help. However, be sure to keep people of similar levels of competency together; beginners with beginners, experts with experts. This reduces the chances of people feeling embarrassed that they're not keeping up, or frustrated that they're being held back by others. It also makes it easy to ensure you are arranging the right course for the right group. There's little point in sending Excel novices on an Advanced Excel Training course, and that certainly wouldn't help apprehensive employees.

Finally, keep class sizes to a reasonable number of delegates. If you go above 8 in a class, you start to impact the trainer's ability to give sufficient attention to struggling delegates, and the bigger the class, the greater the potential for anxiety of failing in front of others.