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Using Theme-Based Training to Teach Computer Skills to the Public Instructor: Cheryl Gould [email protected] An Infopeople Workshop Fall-Winter 2006 This Workshop Is Brought to You By the Infopeople Project

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Using theme based training to teach computer skills to the public l.jpg

Using Theme-Based Training to Teach Computer Skills to the Public


Cheryl Gould

[email protected]

An Infopeople Workshop

Fall-Winter 2006

This workshop is brought to you by the infopeople project l.jpg
This Workshop Is Brought to You By the Infopeople Project

Infopeople is a federally-funded grant project supported by the California State Library. It provides a wide variety of training to California libraries. Infopeople workshops are offered around the state and are open registration on a first-come, first-served basis.

For a complete list of workshops, and for other information about the project, go to the Infopeople website at

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Today’s Agenda

  • Why use theme-based training

  • Template for developing trainings

    • 1 to 1.5 hours

    • for the public

  • Skills for teaching computer classes

  • Planning and promoting your class

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Why Teach Computer Classes?

  • Computer literacy is critical

  • Many library resources available online

  • Library as lifelong learning institution

  • Keep the libraries relevant in the minds of our customers

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Training Staff Versus the Public

  • Staff

    • need to learn to perform better

    • can require learning

    • possible consequences

  • Public

    • no idea why

    • needs to be fun

    • needs to be relevant to a wide audience

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Use Themes to Create Interest

  • High motivation to learn

  • Fun

  • Can interest learners of all ages

  • Serve different library users

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Themes from Hibbing PL

  • Go to:

  • Click on Hibbing Public Library

  • Click on Computer Classes

  • Click on Lesson Plans

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What are Your Objectives For Public Training?

  • Improve computer competency

  • Use Library resources

  • Love the library

  • Love you

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Competencies to Teach

  • Vocabulary

  • Use the Internet

    • Bookmarks

    • Navigating

    • Evaluating websites

  • Copy and paste to Word

  • Save a file

  • Print results or save to disk

  • Use libraries digital resources

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Advanced Competencies

  • Evaluating websites

  • Use keyboard shortcuts

  • Searching tips

  • Using library databases

  • Search for e-books/audio/video on topic

  • Blogs

  • Podcasts

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Objectives (SMART)

  • Specific

    • state desired results in detail

  • Measurable (observable)

    • use verbs that describe what trainees will learn

  • Action

    • describe an action that the trainee will perform

  • Realistic

    • achievable

  • Time frame

    • how long will it take the trainees to learn the skill?

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Print Material to Create

  • PowerPoint printout

  • Exercises

  • Annotated bookmark list

  • Checklist to evaluate websites

  • Cheat sheet/How to

  • Evaluation form

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Find Appropriate Web Sites

  • Start with who you trust

    • Lii


    • Library website

  • Google Search

  • Yahoo Directory?

  • No more than 10

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How Will They Get to the Websites?

  • HTML file accessible on the Internet

  • Word file with clickable links on:

    • floppy/CD/USB drive

    • library website

    • Internet

  • Preset bookmarks on each computer

  • Printed list for them to type in addresses

  • Create a blog at (it’s free)

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Create Exercises for Individual Work

  • Let people go at their own pace

  • Help them be successful

    • Do you need screen shots?

  • Tell them what they are doing

  • THEN tell them the steps to do it

  • Use outline numbering

  • Have bonus question

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Bullets or Numbering?

  • Choose File > Save As

  • Type yourname

  • Click OK

  • Word

  • Excel

  • PowerPoint

  • Choose File > Save As

  • Type yourname

  • Click OK

  • Word

  • Excel

  • PowerPoint

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Thinking vs Following Steps

  • Click on File > Open

  • Select abc.doc from the list of files

  • Go to the end of the document by pressing <Ctrl><End>


  • Open the Word document abc

  • Move to the end of the document by using a shortcut key

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Formatting Handouts in Word

  • Lots of white space

  • No less than 12-pt type

  • Use bullets and numbering

  • Indent for readability

  • Bold headings

  • Borders

  • Clip art/graphics/photos/Wordart

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Skills for Teaching Computers

  • Promote proper use of terminology

    • use correct names of screen parts while you point to them

  • Use cursor correctly

    • point to what you are talking about

    • click a menu and highlight the choice you want them to make; don’t move on until they’ve gotten where you want them

    • narrate what you are doing WHILE you do it

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Skill Learning

  • People need to:

    • drive

    • know why they care

    • see a demonstration of complicated tasks

  • Show most efficient way – not three ways

    • teach universal skills when possible

  • Allow individual practice

  • Encourage questions

  • Have group follow click by click (if you get good at keeping the group together)

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Who Should Teach

  • Someone who is excited when people learn something

  • Patient

  • Not necessarily the computer expert

  • Flexible - good at responding to how the learner is doing and able to change course

  • Remembers what it’s like to learn something new

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Use Questions

  • Get people involved

  • Check understanding

  • Move from passive to active brain

  • Wait for 10 seconds for an answer

  • Ask questions that provoke thought

    • What are the pros/cons?

    • How would you use this?

    • What would you try?

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Training the Public

  • Be positive

  • Use universal examples

  • Teach in small chunks

  • Give them time to explore

  • They don’t have to learn anything in particular, so anything they learn is a plus

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Find Out Who’s in the Room

  • Mini Needs Assessment

    • questions answered by show of hands

    • raise your hand to show them you want them to raise theirs

  • Find out experience level

    • for you

    • for them, too!

  • Have them self-rate on scale of 1-5

    • computer experience

    • Internet experience

    • use of library resources

      • databases

      • e-books

      • other?

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Plan Time for Sharing

  • Adults like to share what they know

  • Often what’s most valuable is what they learn from others in the class

  • You don’t have to be the expert

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Follow the Template

  • Introduction

    • self, class, material, length of class

  • Mini Needs Assessment

    • figure out what your learners know

  • Teaching Point

    • exercise

  • Teaching Point

    • exercise

  • Teaching Point

    • exercise

  • Opportunities to Learn More

  • Evaluation

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Handling a Variety of Learners

  • Let people know what you expect them to get

  • Give permission to forget by having handouts to support learning

    • tell them about handouts at beginning and refer to them during training

  • Have bonus questions on exercises

  • Pair people up when necessary

  • Help slower learners during individual exercise time

  • Teach to the middle of the class – not the fastest, not the slowest

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Difficult Learners

  • I’m afraid I’ll break it

    • try, try, try – discuss rebooting as last resort

  • It’s not working – I can’t do it

    • slow down, deep breath, read the screen, try, learn Ctrl Z and cancel

  • Know it all

    • give advanced tips, bonus questions, have them help slower learners

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Planning a Training Event

  • Timeline

  • Checklist

    • room setup

    • equipment needed

    • advertise

  • Class size

    • to share or not to share a computer

  • Prerequisites

  • Sign-ups?

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Day of Training

  • Room setup

  • Equipment working

  • Sign in sheet

  • Install your PowerPoint

    • flash drive

    • CD/DVD

    • networked drive

  • Test crucial sites

  • Have evaluation form

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Promoting Training

  • Flyers

    • in the library

    • outside the library

  • Your website

  • Inform library staff

  • News releases/radio/TV

  • Partner with groups who share your theme

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Use Evaluations

  • Don’t take bad ones too seriously

  • Learn from every evaluation

  • Make changes

  • Try new things

    • different Intro

    • icebreakers

    • exercises in pairs

    • use more questions