As a software trainer, I speak to a wide variety of audiences, usually in a half or full day class. Some are small, more intimate groups of 10 to 15 people, while others may expand out to 30, 40 or even 50 people in a room. Each has their own dynamic, and many times what works for one type of group is impractical for others. Recently I have been training an overview course of a new web based software upgrade that has been very popular with many of my local school districts. As I have arranged training with their IT departments, the CTO’s would invariably want to maximise their class size.
I’ve recently faced large computer labs filled with Chromebooks with over 40 administrators, office personnel and teachers unfamiliar with the operation of the laptop units, especially the trackpad. Since my training is hands-on, this usually slows the start of the class as we have to get everyone logged in and ready to go. Large classes like this are a challenge, and the pace usually slows as the strange trackpad interface can produce unfamiliar results. Add to this the overload on the wireless bandwidth, and many times the whole class has to wait for screens to update. If my training computer is on the same network, I’ve had my screens slow and crash.
That being said, I’ve found some helpful solutions that have totally changed the dynamic of the large audience training. I’ll cover these in a series of future posts. But today, I want to cover how this overload had changed a key dynamic in my training style, that caused some unintentional results. What was strange is that I hadn’t noticed the difference, until I took another trainer’s class last week at a software conference. [Read more…]