Tag Archives: MS Office 2010

Austerity Measures: Reducing the duration of MS Office 2010 “What’s New” Training

16 Nov

Currently we are running an MS Office 2010 “What’s New” training course that is approximately 7 hours long (1 day course) and covers Word, Excel, Outlook, and PowerPoint. The course begins with a “What’s Common” section that is 1 hour-long. This section covers the common features across Word, Excel, Outlook, and PowerPoint, such as the ribbon and backstage view. See course outline below:

Feedback from the attendees indicated that although they were happy with the course, the duration of training was too long. Personally I noticed energy levels dropping during the afternoon, when the instructor covered Outlook and PowerPoint.

So how could we reduce the duration of training without compromising the course?

I believe that the duration of the course could be reduced to either ½ day or 2 hours. However, either approach would mean significant cuts to the content of the course outline.
If the duration of the course was reduced to ½ day that would mean either removing the Outlook and PowerPoint sections of the course or targeting specific content across Word, Excel, Outlook, and PowerPoint sections to remove. I would keep the “What’s Common” section intact.

If the course was reduced to 2 hours that would mean keeping the “What’s Common” section and either spending 1 hour on Word or alternatively 15 minutes each on a key aspect of Word, Excel, Outlook, and PowerPoint.

If these cuts to the course outline were enacted, learners would have less classroom time in which to learn what’s new in MS Office 2010. However, reducing the course from 1 day to ½ day or 2 hours may appeal to more learners who are unable to commit to 1 day training.

Reducing the duration of the course may also mean that learners only receive training that is directly applicable to their work. For example, the current course covers Pivot Tables in Excel. Not all learners when asked use Pivot Tables in their day-to-day work.

I would recommend reducing the duration of the course down to ½ day. This would appeal to more learners unable to commit to 1 day training and keep energy levels up during the whole training course.

How to reduce the duration needs further investigation. Removing the Outlook and PowerPoint sections could compromise the integrity of offering a “What’s New” in MS Office 2010 training course. The alternative of targeting specific content for removal from the course outline may be the best approach.

Death by Quick Reference Card (and all his friends)

19 Oct

At the moment I’m dying under the weight of quick reference cards. Next week I’m running a series of MS Office 2010 “What’s New” training sessions and have a number of quick reference cards that will be handed out. By “a number” I mean this amount:

I don’t have a problem with quick reference cards per se, however, every time I print out a batch of them I wonder if there is a better way.

Even at a rudimentary level, the creation of quick reference cards takes up a significant amount of time. From the design process to printing and distribution, the process of getting a quick reference card in the hands of a learner seems exorbitant.

So why do we put so much effort into creating quick reference cards? The answer I commonly get is because “learners want something physical that they can take away with them after training has finished.” A quick reference card meets this need, but is this need necessarily true?

My answer to this question is may be not. Perhaps what learners need is an assurance that relevant resources will be available to them after training has finished. As instructional designers we are all aware of the problem of learner retention or recall, but perhaps we should also be aware that learners are worried about this problem as well.

Handing learners a quick reference card helps ease their concerns. A card acts as something that will either jog their memory or help fill in a gap about a section of the training they snoozed through.

So what about the “physical” part of needing a quick reference card? Well, in an increasingly “virtual world,” the need for something physical is diminishing. Even so, I think it is important to show learners where they can get help in the virtual world. That means incorporating a post-training element into training. For too long we have treated training as a one-time, one-stop-shop experience. It shouldn’t be, and we shouldn’t just hand out quick reference cards, wave the learners good-bye and wish them good-luck.

I’m dying under the weight of quick reference cards, perhaps there is a different/better way.

Word Clouds – A Marketing Silver-lining?

15 May

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about creating marketing material for our upcoming MS Office 2010 training sessions.

Today we are exploring the possibility of using “word clouds” in our posters. Instead of Wordle, I’ve been using Tagxedo (thanks to a tweet from Stephanie Dedhar about Julie Wedgwood’s presentation at #tzl12).

Here are a couple of my favourite samples so far:

MS Office 2010 training – Marketing the Unmarketable?

26 Apr

At the moment I am surrounded by graphic design books, magazine advertisements, and multiple drafts of posters depicting amateur athletes leaping over hurdles.

Why? Well, recently a coworker was tasked with creating marketing material for upcoming classes on “What’s New in MS Office 2010.” Inspiring employees to sign up for these classes will be no small feat. In fact, because of the lack of enthusiasm around Microsoft products generally, I believe this task will be like trying to market the unmarketable.

Ok, that may be pushing it too far, but without doubt marketing these classes will be a hard job. It requires creativity, originality, and someone with the ability to turn the head of the most jaded employee. Thankfully we are buzzing with ideas – such as amateur athletes leaping over hurdles!

In future posts I will upload some of our marketing ideas. In the meantime, if you have any suggestions on images, inspiring phrases, catchwords or slogans that have successfully marketed the unmarketable, please leave a comment.