How Formal Training Is Better Than Trial and Error
This blog is authored by Sophia Han, Educational Services intern who will be a senior at Arizona State University this fall
How much is your time worth to you?
We often hear “training is not necessary,” “it costs too much,” or “takes too long.” For these reasons, companies do not invest in formal training programs and instead, have their employees learn through trial and error.
While attending Blue Yonder’s space planning training session this week, it became evident that formal instructor-led trainings provide great value to attendees. During the training, an attendee commented that they ended up restarting one of their projects from scratch due to not manually saving the project file before their computer crashed. They didn’t know that Blue Yonder’s solutions automatically save projects every ten minutes (fully adjustable, of course). Instead of accessing the backup file, the individual restarted their project, saving over their original work with the new version. A day’s worth of work gone because they didn’t know about that particular feature of the solution.
Throughout the rest of the course, as users learned more, their faces would light up when they learned new tricks or features that would inevitably help reduce frustrations and make their day-to-day tasks much more efficient.
Some of the features highlighted in formal instructor-led trainings are things that, unless the user has a lot of time to play around, are unlikely to be discovered or used for what they are designed, with efficiency in mind. Similar to Excel, it is entirely possible to go through the program without prior experience and learn how to use V-look ups, create pivot tables and do calculations. There’s always going to be Google and other communities for you to look up functions. However, if you didn’t even know about the existence of V-look ups, how would you search for them? There are bound to be more obscure features that unless you are trained on them, you won’t know about. This is the case with many software products.
You can learn on your own how some of the features work, and oftentimes, you will be able to manually do what you need to do. However, by having an instructor guide you through the software and answer questions as they come up, you can learn to have the solution do what would have taken you hours to do manually.
Software is here to make your life easier, and the developers want to help you be more efficient. One of the best ways to do that is by reading through the product manual to learn all the tips and tricks, though it’s not recommended because it’s time-consuming and only explains the mechanics. To really understand the product and the why behind the how, instructor-led classes are the best option to provide context and better enable the user to apply the information in other aspects of their role.
Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA) conducted a survey on customers who have been formally trained. They found that 65-73% of people who’ve taken training used the product more, over half were able to use more features, and 85-91% were more independent, with the variations in percentages being attributed to different methods of learning. It’s easy to see the value in participating in formal training, especially for something as important, and potentially time-consuming, as space planning.