Tips for Individual IT Training

Many tech professionals are responsible for training others how to use software, equipment or systems. Don't let this be a daunting task!

Here are few tried-and-tested tips to help them get the most from your one-on-one session.   

1. Put them in the driver’s seat 

It may be tempting to sit in the trainee’s chair and grab the mouse to demo what you’re trying to get them to do, but your demo may just go in one ear and out the other if they aren’t in the “driver’s seat.”  

Have them sit at the computer, doing the typing and moving the mouse, and pull up a chair beside them.  Consider yourself the passenger. The trainee will absorb an abundance more by doing, rather than simply being shown.  


2. Learn the proper terminology, and use it 

A quick refresher on basic web page and operating system screen components will help you explain (from your passenger seat) where to click on the screen and how to carry out the steps you’ve outlined. For example, instead of saying, “type the address at the top of the screen,” say, “type the url in the address bar at the top of the browser window.”  

The person will likely ask you what you mean by some components the first time you use the terminology, but they’ll likely remember it the next time, especially when going back to written instructions you’ve given them. 


3. Be patient, and help your trainee be patient 

You may be frustrated if you’ve already explained where the address bar is and the person still goes to the status bar, but remember that people often feel under pressure to perform quickly when they are being trained one-on-one, and if you seem frustrated or impatient it will just make them feel more frustrated and impatient with themselves.  

Once it gets to the point that both the trainer and trainee are frustrated, the trainee might just give up or walk away in frustration, saying they will try to learn it another time (and probably not return to it). 

4. Leave your trainee a set of instructions that match the steps you went over together 

If your trainee can follow the steps on his or her own using a set of instructions that match what you went over, it’s much more likely that you won’t end up receiving calls to come back to explain the process again. And if you’ve used the proper terminology, it will be easier for your trainee to follow your instructions. 


5. When writing your instructions, use numbered points and as many screenshots as possible 

Screenshots are the easiest way to illustrate exactly where you will find that button, which file to select, and so forth. Gone are the days when you make a simple screenshot. Utilize great screenshot software (we really like Snagit) to take a photo or video of your screen, add text, arrows, circles, and whatever else you need to illustrate your point. Also, encourage your trainee to send you screenshots when they run into difficulties remotely.