Effective End User Training

By Brian Rhodes, Published Apr 23, 2012, 08:00pm EDT

Properly coordinating end user training is a key consideration of successful projects. It is important to recognize that a world class system installed in a flawless manner can be perceived as second rate if the end user is not adequately instructed on its proper use. Future expansion of that system hinges on end user satisfaction, and the correlation between proper training and satisfaction cannot be understated. In this note, we address the importance of end user training done right.

Overview

The integrator should make sure that all users of the surveillance system are identified before training begins. The customer and the integrator should understand beforehand on who should be trained and to what degree.

Many integrators will keep on returning for additional and repeated training  until the end users master the systems. However, adding several unplanned intervals to fit in overlooked personell is expensive.

Keys to Successful User Training

  • Consider separate training for different groups
  • Schedule training beforehand
  • Develop and circulate training agendas
  • Train using enduser's actual system
  • Keep things simple
  • Leave a cheatsheet behind

Consider separate training for different groups: If many different individuals or types of users need to be trained, consider breaking sessions apart into specific groups. For instance, managers, security guards and investigators will use the systems in different ways, often focusing on different aspects of the system. 

Schedule training beforehand: Instead of rushing thorough a quick overview of functions, and training end users one or two at a time,  schedule a formal training session with the enduser. Work with the enduser to schedule a dedicated time where users are not distracted with other work.

Develop and circulate training agendas: Printing a training agenda is important. Giving the end user a document listing training scope serves to tie everything together, but it also helps to prevent forgetting to train important functions. The agenda can be kept by the integrator as 'proof' that a certain function or feature was addressed, and used to keep notes by the enduser during the course of training.

Train using enduser's actual system: Where possible, train operators on system use of their specific system, not just a general demonstration system. End user trainees with learn key features and operations more quickly if they can 'see' how it applies to their own environment. Not only will interest be higher, but finer operation details stand a better chance of being remembered.

Keep things simple: Avoiding training sessions that cover too much ground is vitally important. Training sessions should be kept short, and should emphasize actual end-user operation of the system. Trying to cram too much technical detail into too short  a period is a common pitfall of user training. Especially if end user operators are new or inexperienced operators, keeping the training agenda simple to just the fundamental features and functions is critically important.

Leave a cheatsheet behind: Even the best training will not guarantee all users remember every function. This is especially important for those who only use the surveillance system infrequently. Putting together a one page 'cheatsheet' with key functionality (like how to do a search, export video, etc.) can be very helpful. Make sure to customize it for the user's specific needs (e.g., if they are a bank, focus on searching for ATM transactions rather than generic instructions).

Conclusion

It is too easy to discount the importance of effective end user training, but if handled properly can lead to future sales and system expansion. Instead of rushing through an quick overview of operating a system, the integrator should take time to formulate an effective training plan. Not only will the training having more impact, the end user's increased satisfaction strengthens the integrator relationship.

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