How Training Should be Done

I’ve written many times about the importance of training. (I’ve even done a teleseminar on it!) And far too often, training from AMS vendors ranges from mediocre to really bad. So I was pleased to have the opportunity to sit through some very good AMS training from Aptify this week, while working with a client of mine.

Dave O’Connell, Aptify’s manager of training, has been presenting, and he’s done several things that I think are essential to effective training. Here they are, in no particular order:

  1. Tell ’em what you’re going to do, tell ’em what you’re doing, tell ’em what you did. Dave is really good at explaining what he’s about to do, explaining what he’s doing, and explaining what he just did. Repetition is one key to learning. (Similar to what I outline here.) This included starting the week by walking through the entire agenda for training. Too many trainers jump right in without providing any context or idea of where the class is headed.
  2. The documentation provided was clear, concise, and relatively free of typos. And Dave did a great job of following the agenda.
  3. Training ran from 9am to 3.30pm, with breaks in the morning and afternoon (and for lunch). After the break in the morning, Dave ran little “mind bender” contests, short five question quizzes of fun stuff like celebrity high school photos and word and number games. I told Dave I liked the games and he responded with “they’re good for giving the mind a break from all the intense work we’re doing.” I hadn’t thought of that, but it makes a lot of sense.
  4. Each morning, Dave did a short review of things we had covered the prior day. This included short “quizzes” with four or five exercises for the students to perform. All quizzes were open book!
  5. And one of the neatest things Aptify does is to provide independent but identical databases for every student in the class. This means each student’s work won’t “conflict” with other students’ work. It’s a really smart approach to making sure there are no major glitches during training, which can really derail a training session.

One of my past blog posts provided four tips for vendors on training. Aptify managed to hit three of these out of the park (with the fourth being not applicable at this point). Kudo to Aptify and Dave for getting it right! I’d love to see more vendors perform at this level.

Full disclosure: EDM is an independent third-party consulting firm. This means we have no financial relationship with any of the vendors mentioned in this blog. We provide unbiased opinions on what we see. 


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.

Scroll to Top