Database Training and Your Dog

Over the years, I’ve written a whole bunch about training (Click here for all kinds of tips.)

Recently, Donna Dunn, Executive Director and CEO of the Association of YMCA Professionals, emailed me with some thoughts on training. She has given me permission to reprint her thoughts here:

I would argue — as a consumer of an AMS, that part of the training problem is cramming so much training into too little time. When I was part of a switch to a database, we had three days of training and that was it.

We’re getting ready for our latest database training and we’ll get it all in a day and a half.

I’m training my new dog right now. We work on several things each week, practicing twice a day. Then we review the next week and add on to what we’ve already learned (I think they train the owner, not the dog). Why isn’t AMS training based this way — learn the critical items first in a thoughtful way with practice in your own data — like looking up and entering member data, exporting batches and running basic reports. Then, the next week do another hour an a half on queries, and basic configuration. Then, a week or two later do setting up events. If you have tutorials, expect the trainee to have worked through a certain number of tutorials prior to even having training. That way everyone starts at the same level.

Part of the training problem is doing a brain dump during training and then expecting the client to remember and implement. It’s just not the way adults in this country learn.

I agree wholeheartedly with what Donna writes here. I’ve commented specifically on how difficult (and frankly, quite fruitless) full-day training is.

So think about how you’re scheduling training as you implement a new system (or even as you roll out new features of your existing system). Bits and pieces over time may actually serve you better. Just ask your dog!

About Wes Trochlil

For over 30 years, Wes has worked in and with dozens of associations and membership organizations throughout the US, ranging in size from zero staff (all-volunteer) to over 700. In that time Wes has provided a range of consulting services, from general consulting on data management issues to full-scale, association-wide selection and implementation of association management systems.

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