Staff Training and Home Servers

There is a computer sitting next to my television, it doesn’t work, I’ve been working on it a couple of days at a time for the last few months. I came into possession of the almost complete set-up before I came back from school, it only needed a hard drive and an operating system. Unfortunately, the CD Drive isn’t recognized by my BIOS, and every time I try to boot from USB it stalls as soon as I select the operating system.  Right now it seems to be an issue with either a graphics driver, or maybe something else. I will tackle it again soon. It will work – and act as a home server that will help me learn new skills, as well as help me develop a deeper understanding of networks and the internet.

My non-start of a home server – and the knowledge that eventually I will get it is a bit like staff training.

Almost since I started my current position I have been working on a staff technology training project. We started with a solid foundation, created training plans, schedules, looking at all of the topics that were important to our staff, our library, and hopefully the community. We’ve had about five months of different training sessions at this point, dealing with all sorts of different topics, with more planned all the way to December.

A lot of it has been fun. Introducing staff to our new catalogue interface was great, and I had several ebook converts walked out of our ebook training sessions. The “Ah-ha” moments that have occurred have been amazing, and have been due to careful consideration of the key messages, and ensuring that there is active learning.

Consistency is key, and so is keeping people going! There are laughs when I tell learners that there is homework. But the activities that follow up training sessions are there to help make connections and gain skills. While I don’t force people to complete it, those that do all come back with great ideas, and a new eagerness to learn more.

There are still points of frustration. For me it looks like the issues are mostly due to motivation. Some people don’t see the point of learning about certain types of technology and, despite my attempts, you cannot force people to learn. But, you can continue to offer opportunities.

But if there is anything I have learned over the past few months is that when embarking on a staff training plan there are two important things to do:

  1. Keep up the momentum when you get it- let people take home practice gadgets, and encourage learners to come to you with follow-up questions, and comments.
  2. Have refreshers – offer multiple sessions, repeat them, etc.

Hopefully I will have more to share on this topic throughout 2013 – but if anyone is reading this and have specific questions, please let me know!