Hamilton Computer Skills: Training Software
You're probably a busy person: too busy to spend a day at a course, and too busy to want to re-do anything because it wasn't done right. Even a half-day for a classroom training course is too much. Fortunately, technology is letting you get training outside of business hours, even let you learn at home. How? Training on CD-ROM is the just-in-time, at-your-desk training option.
There are other options:
- Read the manual
Good information if you've got time to read it, but only if you can figure out the table of contents or index.
- Use the on-line help (F1)
This is free and included with all good software. Some software even has a help "Wizard" which lets you state a problem in plain English and it recommends the most appropriate help information. These wizards often take you step-by-step.
- Call a telephone support line
This may be free for some software, or in some companies. In other cases, you need to call a 1-900 service or pay for a toll call to the software company (and be on-hold for a while). Support people call this just-in-time training, but doesn't teach you broad principles that might save you making the same mistake again.
- Internet education
These courses are good if you can find them, but because of still-slow download speeds are limited in the amount of interaction, video, and the quality of animations. Some sites are free, some require a credit card to use a single course, or to access several courses for a limited time. Soon all good courses will be offered on the Internet. But for now, the highest quality option are CD-ROM training products. These provide the best of all worlds, with high quality tutorials, demonstrations, practice interactivity, and feedback. These contain the "Four E's of education" Explain, Example, Exercise, and Evaluation with video, animation and simulated practice. They provide context-sensitive or linear instructional formats with different learning levels.