I have never been an 'IT trainer' in that formal sense, even when teaching part-time databases at City & Guilds level. In a way though I am a permanent IT trainer as people in the office working away raise a call for help that by-passes the telephone or e-mail help-desk. From a manager's perspective this is not an effective use of my time, but there it is - and there also - is the door that I often escape through to do some nursing. ...
All this though made me wonder about IT training and the different forms or levels this can take...
If you are training to be a trainer then the course is well structured and organised:
- whether it is over 3, 5, 7 days
- wherever the venue, London, Rome, Tokyo, or Ormskirk, West Lancashire ;)
- whatever the application, framework or environment:
- 'industry standard' course, such as, MCSA, MCSE, MCDST, CCNA and other computing courses.
The course has set learning objectives and even before students have enrolled consideration is given to the pre-requisites. The level of experience and ability that students should bring to the digital table; whether beginner - expert, transition from Java to Ruby or a wholesale change of career. Although the generations of software development tools (quickly) tick-by the need for training has not gone away. There still remains a language gap and that results in steep learning curves, even with the arrival of 21st century technology (or perhaps because of it?). The same applies for the training of would-be users of the software above and much more.
When it comes to IT training for nurses and other health and social care professionals, well things can be viewed differently. The technology really has become a means to an end and trainers had better remember this. Trainers need to appreciate some of that other - quite often alien - domain. Suddenly there is another language gap and steep learning curve. Reference to 'steep learning' for IT trainers of clinicians is justified here, when you see the reaction within the health domain of some general nurses when presented with mental health problems and vice-versa. Yes, that response is extreme and outdated, but it is still prevalent.
What then of students straight out of college and university? There is an opportunity for this group not only to learn specific clinical applications, but to use the applications and opportunity to learn about their job and role. Why limit yourself to 'IT Training'? Make sure the little 'c' in ICT (yes of course that is communication) is complemented by the big 'C'ommunication in nursing, health and social care - where it is so fundamental.
In this case the trainees - your audience - will thank you and who knows they might learn more than they expected about the 'system', their role and themselves.