The Training Circle

26 Oct, 2011 By: Robert Green

CAD Manager's Toolbox: Has the search for fast, free training ideas got you running in circles? Engage users with this speedy, rewarding approach.

Want to find new ways to train your users that won't take much time and won't cost much, but will be fun and useful? Here's a clever idea that I've seen used for staff training in restaurants and retail environments; I've already tried it with a couple of my clients and had great success.

Here's how it works:

  • Have each of your CAD group members prepare to share one tip, trick, or technique that he or she uses to work more efficiently.
  • Get everyone together first thing in the morning, while people are still fresh and not yet ground down from the day's work.
  • Go around the "training circle" quickly — nobody takes more than two minutes to explain their idea.
  • No questions are allowed, because the training circle must move at high speed. Questions should be held until afterward, when they can be answered through casual interaction between users.

I've found that this concept produces a lot of Aha! moments that people would never think of on their own. And since the training moves briskly, the participants don't have time to grow bored or get bogged down in endless questions that only benefit one or two team members.

As you repeat the training circle weekly, you'll notice team members further refining tips they've heard in the past, which means good ideas get even better. You'll also notice that each team member feels some sense of responsibility to contribute good ideas to the training circle, which can sometimes motivate a user who's feeling burned out.

The payoff for you? You never spent any time preparing lessons, demos, or handouts, yet you still get all the benefits of better-trained users. Of course you can't teach somebody Revit or SolidWorks this way, but you really can motivate your users and hone their skill sets. Try it and I think you'll find, as I did, that it delivers results in record time.

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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