Adoption & Effective Use

An Argument for Training

Greg Jones, the head of IS and KM at Landcare Research, recently made the case for training (in ComputerWorld NZ):

The latest in ICT systems can be of no use when your staff don’t know how to use them effectively. With the right investment in training staff, even the slightest bit, can result in surprising gains and improved productivity.

This was the experience of the IT team at Lincoln-based Landcare Research.

Greg makes the following points:
– the IT / KM team is responsible for many systems. It’s important to get a return from each system.
– systems for real-time data gathering are becoming more pervasive. It’s important that our scientists have appropriate digital skills to use such systems for their analysis / research.
– Landcare employs / works with people with diverse skills. Each needs to have a base level of IT skills in order to be effective with ICT tools.
– the ICT team provides training when initially rolling out systems, but hasn’t usually done more than that.
– the ICT team identified that people needed better base skills in particular applications, such as Microsoft Office. It engaged Ripped Orange, a local IT training firm, to provide this training. Some training was offered one-to-one.
– as a consequence of better basic skills, some people have saved multiple days of invested time per month. It has cut their workload, by learning to be more effective / efficient.
– unless the scientists see a need for training right now, they won’t come. It has to be just-in-time and relevant to their work now.
– the ICT team and Ripped Orange are working through how to make effective training resources available across Landcare. It’s a work-in-progress for building the business case.

(Landcare Research is featured in User Adoption Strategies 2nd Ed. (2012) with a case study on its bulk-loading party.)