Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Work is hard, learning to work should be easy

I remember training someone once, and telling them that, "work is hard." I'm not sure what impression it made initially, but I wanted to impress upon them that sometimes it takes an effort, and commitment, and an ability to rise to challenges.

I've trained quite a few people, actually. I'm getting better at it as I go. I try a number of approaches in showing someone how to accomplish a task, and have learned better to figure out whether or not I've gotten through to them and achieved some type of understanding.

Recognizing that different people learn in different ways is a good start. Some folks need discussion, and others want printed manuals. There are those who have to experience something first hand, and get those hands dirty in the process. Demonstrations, combined with discussions, and hands-on learning tend to work well for a number of tasks.

For instance, if I want to teach someone how to use a computer program for the first time, I'll set some goal, or a series of goals, and break the training down into a number of tasks. The repetition, and frequent usage can help the person gain experience and confidence.

I'll start by telling them what we are going to do, and explain the steps in the learning process. First, we'll start by me showing them how to perform that task by myself, with them looking over my shoulder. Then they will try it out with me telling them what to do step-by-step. We can discuss the process, and the reasons for it some more during that stage. Then, they try again, with me just watching, and present to answer questions if they have any.

Then, we repeat as necessary. The next day, we go over it again, just to make sure that they feel comfortable.

Work can be hard, and training someone to work can be hard, but helping someone to learn how to work can be easier if you have a good method to follow. The one I described works for me.

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