No Image Available

Debbie Jones

The Access Group

Head of Learning Managers, Digital Learning & Compliance Division

Read more from Debbie Jones

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

Keeping Everyone Engaged


I've been tasked with designing a course for our new starters. The course covers things such as:

- Setting Passwords & working with applications, customising Desktops

- Navigating and finding what you need from the Intranet (not an easy task with our work intranet)

- Working Efficiently tips and keyboard shortcuts etc

- Working with laptops and working remotely

The computer experience for many of our employees is minimal and their skills are lower than average to non existent for some. But not all! Some staff are very computer literate. It has become evident that such a course needs to exisit and it is being made mandatory for new starters but as you can probably see, the challenge I face is keeping it engaging and still an opportunity to learn for those that already know so much.

I know it needs to be a really interractive session so that everyone gets involved and it shouldn't matter on previous experience because those that 'know it all' can help that know very little.

I would love to hear if you have had to design similar courses and how you approached it. Different activities you set up.

At the moment I'm thinking splitting classes into groups and having maybe four 'learning stations' which they move around.

I have 3-3.5 hours to work with and I have no clear indication as to how many participants I will have on the course yet but expect it to be between 20 and 30.

Thank you

6 Responses

  1. Pre course assessment

    Looks like you have a wide differentiation of skills in the room?

    First thing I would do is an initial sift by way of assessment. From that you can create 2 or 3 induction days based on delegate needs rather than a "sheep dip" approach which will tick a few boxes but achieve very little.

    There also seems to be a lot going on so I would also make the sessions "bite size" and focus on just a small area each day and spread the course out over a number of weeks (if possible).

    Having workplace Mentors in place would help with any on the job learning that needs to take place in between classroom sessions.

    All of the above is in an "ideal world" but I realise quite often sheep dipping is the less expensive and time consuming option.

  2. Digital…

    Hi there, as it is PC-related why not make this content digital?  You can make bite-sized videos of how to do each of the things you mention and include demonstrations/case studies/stories.  It's how most of us learn at home now i.e. looking at youtube.  Deliver it as a blended course if you need to assess progress but with digital content you can make it engaging.

    Hope that helps.

  3. Interesting question …

    Hi Debbie

    Thanks for asking the question.  I'm interested to know what evidence told you that the course needs to exist.  What specific, measurable outputs or results is your sponsor expecting to see?  In other words, how will you know that what you've created has served its purpose?

    Clive gives a great suggestion around the digital route which would support a classroom intervention, which I'm detecting is your mandate.

    Use all the tools that you have at your disposal to ensure the session's interactive: ask questions (sometimes guided, sometime rhetorical, always open!), give instructions (both cerebral and physical).  Keep any demonstration down to an absolute minimum – get rid of it completely, if you can, and ensure that your learners are hands-on as much as possible.

    A couple of activities that you might like to think about:

    A learner-led discussion at separate flip charts, titled: 'Benefits of remote working' and 'Challenges of remote working'.  Two teams populate the flips with all of their ideas before the entire group comes back together to consider ways in which the challenges can be mitigated.

    A webquest, where you design questions and clues so that learners (possibly in teams?) go off on a quest to find and interact with something on the intranet

    Be multimedia: use video, sound, social networking, instant messenger …. the list goes on!

    It'll be interesting to hear how you get on!



  4. Engaging learners

    Ask the learners to identify how they might benefit from this training or at least point out what is in it for them – reduced IT down time / faster IT use etc.

    Have a hands on pracitcal application session – make a game of it – fewest mitakes etc.

    Ensure that all learners have a collow up plan of thier own – how will they implement the skills / knowledge learned?

  5. Hands-on

    Hi Debbie,

    I agree with Steve. If you could separate the groups according to skill level that would be the best. It can be very frustrating to go over a basic IT training if you're a computer literate.

    If you have the chance to do that, I would take the literate group, make a good overview presentation (could even be via elearning), and then make a knowledge base accessible to them if they need to recall some information.

    For the non-literate group, I agree with a digital approach through videos but if you have people with very low or even non-existing computer skills, I don't advise leaving them on their own with the content, especially if they are resistant in using computers.

    I would go for the video approach but present that in a classroom training, and then get their hands-on it to practice and try for themselves.

    Also, and I think this is very important, assign a super user group that people can go to when having doubts. They don't have necessarily any training responsibilities, but they are available to clarify when needed.



  6. Great Suggestions to Think About

    Thank you all for your great suggestions.

    Unfortunately, due to resources and demands of the teams, there wont be the possibility of splitting the groups by skill.

    I, too, have suggested providing a longer game for this and following up with further bite sized sessions but my sponsor is not in favour as she fears once we release them in to the wild, we will not get them back. I'm still pushing it though as I have suggested linking it in with their PDRs (appraisals) and making it an official learning path but I'm not optimistic.

    This session is also an 'add on' to the Induction already in place. The current Induction is controlled and designed by another team which I have suggested we try to work together with in order to provde a better joined up approach (Induction sits in L&D but as this is computer related, it falls under my team which is Systems Training – it will then get followed up with training in the specific applications required for their roles).

    The evidence has come from feedback from staff and line managers saying they weren't provided with the skills they needed at the start of their appointment. They have blamed lack of training. We are an NHS organisation so the staff are 'people' focused and many have never learnt to use computers.

    Paul, I think we are of the same thinking. I have taken the approach that the group will be split into mixed level teams which move around the activity stations I mentioned in my first post. Each station will have different challenges which will be a mix of webquests (to use your term Paul), discussion groups, quizes, contacting service desks (if I can get this agreed and doesn't cause too much disturbance). Each activity station will build on their skills which they will use to make a new starter brochure within their teams.

    I love the idea of introducing other media and, although my first thought was 'that will never work' due to the restrictions of the organisation, however I'm already thinking of solutions to this which will engage the more skilled and tech savvy learners and I will think more on how I can incorporate a video clip too.

    perspect1, good point at remembering to include the 'what's in it for me' discussion and to get them to commit to a next actions plan (although many of the learners will have little control over this when they start their actual jobs). It could feed into follow up evaluation or we could send them a reminder of what they said they would do to see if they had done it or needed any further help in achieving it.

    I've made a start but I'm now waiting for that all important meeting with the Director of L&D in the hope we can build it into something more than just a 3.5 hour add on to the Induction.

No Image Available
Debbie Jones

Head of Learning Managers, Digital Learning & Compliance Division

Read more from Debbie Jones

Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.

Thank you!