I advocate accomplishment, whether it’s through development of a database solution for a customer or training a student on becoming a better developer. While the former requires attention to detail, knowledge of the FileMaker product line, and the agility to solve problems, what does it take to advocate accomplishment from the perspective of a trainer? Step into to my world…
Training isn’t about standing in front of an audience. It’s not about teaching out of a book. Training is all about understanding student needs, interacting with the students, and being a flexible trainer. Ah yes – and patience. Lots and lots of patience. As developers, we fall into the trap of thinking “this stuff is easy,” especially when covering the basics. I mean, we do this stuff day in and day out. As a trainer, we have to remember what it’s like to know little to nothing about FileMaker. We have to remember that terms like “modes,” “views,” and “scripts” are not part of our students’ everyday vocabulary. It’s our job as a trainer to walk developers through, what can be, a steep learning curve.
With patience comes flexibility. There have been many times where my class outline goes flying out the window when I realize the class could get more out of a different topic. Even if I keep to my outline, my examples and/or approach will change depending on my students. If I’m teaching a finance group, I use transactions and accounts as my real world example. If I’m teaching schoolteachers, the student/teacher model becomes the focus. When teaching a group from different organizations, I do my best to use at least one example from each person’s work background. Not only does it help the student learn, but also it makes the class feel customized and tailored. Who doesn’t love that feeling?
The one technique that holds true to being a good trainer is to always wear your excitement and passion for FileMaker on your sleeve. Students have come up to me and said, “Your excitement is contagious!” and that may be one of the best compliments ever paid. I teach others about the powers of FileMaker and ease their fears of creating databases by letting them know that I’ve been there, that I will help them through it, and that my classes are meant to help them move forward with the development.
So what is the art of training in a nutshell? Remember what it’s like to be new to FileMaker, take the time to understand what your students want and need, and remind your students (and yourself!) that you do what you do because you love it.