Training is an interesting challenge. In an ideal world, I would get twenty minutes with each person to explain how our data collection process works and what they should or should not do while collecting data. Occasionally, I even get to do this. When a project has individually hired ethnographers for weekly events, it’s easy to set up a training call each week, but this isn’t always practical.
The amount of time required to train increases quickly when you have multiple programs. In order to address this, some automation is required.
Develop a training guide
First, a simple PDF set of instructions is a great place to start. If you are setting up a tablet (let’s be honest, iPad) you can include visuals of all the major steps in setup.
Additionally, it makes for an easy reference tool if the person has documentation with them in the field. Having the information spread across a few different slides in different categories allows for quick referencing, without having to review the entirety of the document in order to find out one specific step in setup.
Create a visual tutorial
A video guide is a great way to automate training, for a number of reasons. The set amount of time to review the entire training provides incentives to people who would otherwise be skeptical about spending time on it.
The virtual guarantee that all of the relevant data collection information is reviewed is also a nice bonus. With a PDF, people may cherry pick and skip slides, but they are much less likely to try to skip around in a video to find relevant information.
Being unable to review a video in the field can be inconvenient, so avoid using one as just a standalone method.
Summarize training materials on the web
Finally, in conjunction with the PDF, put all of your instructions on a web page.
You’ll likely have to streamline the data collection information somewhat, but the convenience of having it on a web page outweighs any loss of clarity you may suffer. Having the video and a link to the PDF embedded on the page can help you to cover all of your bases.
Ensure ease of access to training information
The most important thing you can do is ensure that your information is as easy to access as possible. Email the PDF to everyone, if possible, or, at the very least, link the training page and video.
Most importantly, make sure your data collection information is up to date! Nothing is more frustrating than a training document with erroneous information.
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