Peer-to-Peer Training21 Sep, 2010 By: Robert Green
CAD Manager's Toolbox: With these simple strategies, you can improve user knowledge even if you lack a training budget.
"One of the casualties of the economic slump has been our training budget. What can I do to get my training program back on track without any funding?"
Train for free via peer-to-peer training! The key to this technique is to get a few of your motivated power users to share their expertise via "Tips and Tricks" sessions, where they take turns coaching other users on methods that improve productivity.
I've seen various strategies for conducting peer-to-peer training, including:
Monthly meeting: At each monthly status meeting, bring someone up to present a cool CAD productivity tip. Give the presenters plenty of notice, and rotate the assignment so that everybody takes a turn.
Weekly meeting: If you hold status meetings more frequently, incorporate a "quick tip" where a power user does a very brief overview of one of their favorite tips. Limit it to five minutes and again, rotate the responsibility.
Lunch and learn: Have an occasional CAD lunch where everyone gets together for pizza (or potluck, if there's no budget for food) and kicks around productivity-improving ideas. You never know what kind of cool ideas will come from user discussions like these.
After-hours user group: Have a group meeting with your CAD users every couple of months where some learning topics and new product/standards training concepts are taught.
Now, obviously, peer-to-peer training only works if your users are involved, but if they want to receive the benefit of training when there's no budget, isn't it reasonable for them to share the responsibility? I'm seeing more and more companies solve their training problems using these types of strategies, so why not try a peer-to-peer training approach in your company?
For other free and low-cost training ideas, see my CAD Manager column, "Maximum Training for Minimum Money," in the Summer 2010 edition of Cadalyst magazine, and coming soon to Cadalyst.com.