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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Training Q&A: Focus on how, not what

Tricia Conway (TC):  What’s UPK? Will training be online only, or will ESUP offer in-person training? Will you have to learn new tools in order to use the system? Will your work group have enough time to train on the new system before it starts? ESUP has heard many questions surrounding the training strategy, so today we are sitting down with the Project Director for Training, Carolie Carlson, to get the answers. Let’s jump right to it, Carolie. Is Training part of ESUP, or are you guys doing your own thing?

Carolie Carlson (CC): Training is definitely part of ESUP. We have a training team that is comprised of our two existing training units (ASR and Training Services) as well as individuals hired to the Program.

And, the training team has already been actively involved in ESUP. We have a trainer in most of the IDP (Interactive Design and Prototyping) sessions so we can get an early start on what the changes are and who might need to be trained on those changes.

TC: Cool, good to hear your team is so involved. So here’s the most common question we’ve heard: What’s the deal with UPK--will everyone need to learn this tool?

CC: The UPK (User Productivity Kit) is another training tool available to us to use. It’s very similar to other tools we use such as Captivate and SnagIt. UPK can also be used to post job aids and tutorials in the Help feature within PeopleSoft.  Learners won’t really need to pay attention to what tool we use to deliver the training; they just need to know if training will be delivered online or face to face.

TC: Which segues nicely to my next question! Since many won’t need to worry about the tools, just the delivery methods, can you tell us if training will be online or face to face? 

CC: We will always have some face to face training for our distributed learners. That’s not going away. We will also always have tutorials for the learners. Some other delivery methods we are looking at are “train the trainer”, UMConnect (distance education learning), and demos of the changes. We hope to offer a blended approach to training and streamline how we deliver content across the workstreams.

TC: Some of our colleagues have requested a “Train the Trainer” scenario while others are urging ESUP to avoid this. Can you give us some context on what this means?

CC: Sure. “Train the trainer” typically refers to what some might call a Super User model. This is where a unit selects a person who uses the system a lot to train others in their unit. Generally, the super user is trained by the central training staff on what the key elements of training need to include and is given some guidance on how to train effectively. There are usually parameters for what must be covered in the session and how to track who was trained.

The pros to this model are that a unit has more control over when people get trained and can tailor the training a bit more to their departmental procedures.

The cons to this model are that units now have to commit the time of one of their high powered users to train others. The ongoing commitment can sometimes be a hardship for units, especially the smaller units.

Train the trainer was recently implemented with the RRC managers for the Budget Entry class. It’s been used in the past at the University for other areas with some success. This model is used sparingly because of the time commitment it puts on the units.

TC: It’s no secret that distance/online participation has been a tricky issue for ESUP. There have been concerns with UMConnect in the past. Is this a delivery method that Training Services has used before? Will online participants have information on what to do in case of a technology problem? 

CC: We have used UMConnect in the past with some good success. We generally have an online tech support person with us during these sessions so that participants can get immediate help. We also send out a test email prior to the session so participants can test their system prior to the event. One piece of advice for participants: take advantage of testing the system! Many problems are encountered because of an incorrect version of some software and many participants won’t have administrative access on their computers to fix that. Conducting the test gives them time to get an appointment with their desktop support people.

TC: Have there been discussions about levels of necessary training? During one upgrade, all users had to go back to a “square one” training, if you will. Is that the approach ESUP will take? And if so, how will you ensure enough training opportunities will be available before the system launches?

CC: Good question! The level of necessary training is not determined yet and won’t be until all the IDP’s are completed. This should be sometime in January. We want to be able to look across the changes and determine if there are ways to communicate in a broad fashion or if we need to do more structured training on topics.

We do anticipate that there will be some topics that are more informational in nature. In those cases, a job aid or a communication of some sort may be all that is needed. In other cases, we may be creating classes and tutorials. All of that is to be determined.

As to getting it all done in time for the system launch- that will be a discussion in January!

TC: When do you hope end users can start registering for training? 

CC: We hope to be able to announce our training plans in April, 2014 and open registration in May. We need to have enough time to train everyone before the new system launches sometime in October, 2014.

TC: Will users need to meet certain testing requirements in order to access some training modules?

CC: The current model of requiring learners to pass an assessment will remain in place but will have some modifications. We are under discussion with the business process owners about the changes we might want to make to this model.

TC: Great, thank you very much, Carolie. Last question--where should people go with questions about Training on the new system? 

CC: While we don’t anticipate having much information until IDPs are done, if there are questions, people can email the Program at esup@umn.edu. This address is checked regularly and emails are routed to the appropriate project directors.

What do you think--did this help answer your questions about Training or did it raise more questions? Either way, we want to hear your feedback! Please send an email to esup@umn.edu and let us know your thoughts. Also, we are happy to host Q&As with other project directors. If you send us your questions, we will try to track down the answers!

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