Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Super User Boot Camp and the History of Training

There was a super-user boot camp for MIDAS last week.  Some 60 super-users were trained on it.  Apparently the Deputy Administrator was opening the session, because the website shows a picture of him, but the associated link points back to the Administrator's message of August.

I'm a bit curious as to the setup--whether this is train-the-trainer?  When I moved to the program side, the standard for training was: Washington program specialist trained state program specialist who trained the county CED's and PA's.  That's the way we trained for the System/36, though the "program specialists" were mostly the people hired out of the county office to work in DC (today's business process analysts, I think).  As time went on we became more sophisticated in training; we even did dry runs instead of just winging it in front of the audience.  With the advent of PC's and Word Perfect our materials could be a lot prettier, though perhaps not much improved in quality.

By the early 90's we were providing our presentations on floppy disks to the state people.  And then we started to train the trainers; rather than just relying on the state specialists, we'd pull in selected county people and mix up the areas.  The theory was in part to spread the training burden, in part to encourage cross-fertilization of ideas at the county level, rather than having 50 silos of county to state communication where the major cross-fertilization occurred at the state level.  I don't remember ever doing a detailed evaluation of our methods, to see whether we really did improve county operations through such training methods.

These days, with social media, and bring your own device, I'm sure there are new possibilities for improving training.


Anonymous said...

Yes it is a train the trainer program . But once the super users train the State level trainers the super users will provide support to the State level trainers as they train in individual States. The training is being done in multiple stages as the software matures. All users will have online training that must be taken prior to the hands on training.

Bill Harshaw said...

We've come a long ways from the time Sanders and I were training on System/36 name and address software and the program specialist from ND beckoned me back to where he was sitting and informed me: "I don't type".

I wonder whether the format for MIDAS training is a case of following old patterns or an evidence-based decision on what the best way to proceed is.