As a programmer, workflow manager, and program expert, I must not only deliver applications or changes to the production department, but I must also train the users how to fully and competently use new components. It is not enough for a developer to simply build an application (or implement a change), but they must also teach the users how to handle the new features or understand the ramifications of what a new process means for their overall job function.

I take a good deal of pleasure in helping people use their software and find new techniques. In a production department spanning 3 shifts and over 400 users, it is difficult to give everyone one on one training. During my years at Clipper I have come to appreciate the differing levels of experience of users, and also their different learning modes. Because I am primarily dealing with "artists", I have developed a multifaceted approach to training.

  1. Email: Written documentation is the best way to cover every scenario a new application or workflow change may have. Emails are a fast way to inform users of minor changes or quickly changed procedures. But as any manager knows, emails can easily be disregarded.
  2. PDFs produced with images and callouts are made for any new application and cover the interface and all functions, with as simple to understand, yet accurate, descriptions of every feature and procedure. I bundle the instructions into every application I build, so they are always available.
  3. Video/screen-casts have proven to be the most understandable and comprehensive way to teach a large group of users. The users, in my case mostly artists, are far more visually oriented than word-oriented. I create narrated movies that step through the function of a new program, and give real-world examples of how they would use the application and do each function. I can cover multiple branching scenarios without flow diagrams or cumbersome text-based "if scenario 1 then, or if scenario 2 then...". It's not only enjoyable for the viewer to learn this way, but they can easily re-watch the video later.
  4. Live presentations are the last type of training. When I have implemented extremely large workflow changes, I worked with others in the workflow group to develop the program. PDF documentation was created as a direct reference for every user. In a training classroom with projector, I have given multiple live demonstrations of changed workflow and new programs, which have lasted from 20 minutes to over an hour.


Tutorial video screenshots:

Tutorial Video Screenshots

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