As a recent Newforma training consultant for our ConstructEx software, I conducted hundreds of training sessions with project teams worldwide. I was also part of the support team, and I could see the difference between teams who went through the training and those who did not.
I had some project teams who were either in a hurry to start using the software or did not think they needed training. This usually resulted in too many support calls and a few frustrated users.
Project teams often view training on software applications as a necessary evil. But the feedback I received from teams regarding their project outcomes after training was always positive.
Here are a few of my observations that I thought you might benefit from...
Does live training have to be face-to-face?
Covid-19 has undoubtedly had an impact on training. Although most in-person training sessions were put on hold, I saw an increase in remote training. It appears that people were taking advantage of working from home to catch up on things they were putting off – like training.
Many of you with children at home most likely have a better understanding of the benefits of in-person learning. Remote learning can be distracting for students.
There is no replacement for face-to-face communications where instructors can read the nonverbal signals from students – the yawns, blank stares, and puzzled looks on faces. But remote training is here to stay, and it does provide many of the same benefits of face-to-face.
Although my training sessions were not face-to-face, they were live - and in-person. Project teams logged into our remote session at a set date and time. I could share my screen, answer questions, and encourage discussions. We did not use the video to save bandwidth, but many training sessions use this option today. I preferred no video so that I did not have to worry about my hair and makeup!
Getting to know you.
Design teams, owners, and contractors work collaboratively in cloud-based ConstructEx. My training sessions usually included the project leads from the contractor team and architect team. On several occasions these teams were meeting for the first time in the training session.
The initial training sessions gave team members – architects, owners, and contractors - an opportunity to get to know each other. They even left the training session with action items to discuss in the pre-construction meeting.
All on the same page.
The interactive training sessions also gave teams a chance to discuss user responsibilities, workflows, and procedures. Team members, for example, often raised questions regarding submittal processing. They had the opportunity to discuss what information to include in a submittal package, who needed to be in the review loop, how to handle revisions, and who needed to receive email notifications.
Can’t make a live session? Try on-demand.
It was a bit difficult to get all team members in one virtual room at the same time. However all training sessions were recorded so that the video could be shared with team members who could not attend. People who could not attend the live session could at least hear the questions and answers raised in the session by their project team members.
There were situations where the person who attended the training left the project and was replaced. Look for options for on-demand training such as sessions offered through Newforma University. We structured on-demand courses as short modules that are easy to complete during a lunch hour.
We also created learning paths with a recommended sequence of courses based on a user’s experience or role (beginner level, administer, architect, etc.). Users can enroll in courses and complete them at times that work best for them.
You can also train-the-trainer.
Once you train your team on the software, it is a good idea to keep that knowledge in your company. Many firms use the train-the-trainer model to develop in-house champions. With this model, you do not need to invest in additional training expenses for new employees. In-house trainers are also a valuable resource to provide refresher training and support. Newforma has recently added a Train-the-Trainer certification option in Newforma University.
All options are good.
Training your team on the software you invested can only produce positive results. I had the opportunity to speak with many users who completed basic training, and they were excited to learn more about the software and try other features.
Whether you choose in-person training, remote live training, or on-demand, your team will benefit from learning how to use the software to improve team performance. Although COVID-19 had a negative impact on most of us, taking advantage of training is a lesson we can continue in our new normal.
Newforma users can access Newforma University from Customer Support.