IT Training Tips

Please find below some general guidance on IT training, including possible teething problems to anticipate, notes on engaging clients effectively and a checklist to reflect upon after lessons.

Encouraging clients to contribute

Your client may be brimming with confidence and clear about what it is they are seeking to achieve, but they may also be initially reluctant to participate because they are 'afraid' of the computers or fearful of looking silly. Your role is to reassure them that computers are not something to be afraid of and that it doesn't matter if mistakes are made, the whole purpose of the IT lesson is to learn.

Potential teething issues

When working with beginners in particular, it is worth being aware of the following possible issues:

  1. Difficulties with expression. Your client may struggle to express what they are looking to gain from IT lessons because they find the whole subject overwhelming. If your client is finding it difficult to articulate where they are having trouble and what in particular they do not understand, avoid the kind of why questions that can make someone feel on the spot and in all cases make it clear that questions are welcome and there is no such thing as a stupid one in a lesson.
  2. Bear in mind that your client may be a little intimidated by both the technology and you, so try to encourage their opinions to build confidence and show them how their training could be applied directly in a practical sense for solving everyday problems.
  3. Your client may see you as an assessor. This is more likely where an employer has arranged the training for a staff member, so it is worth being aware that the employee may be under some pressure to learn quickly. Try to manage their expectations and those of the employer in terms of likely progress.
  4. Your client may be confused as to how to work together with an IT trainer in a lesson, having never had one-to-one tuition before.

Encouraging Clients to contribute: basic principles

Bear in mind that clients are more likely to engage when:

  • They feel comfortable with you
  • Respect is shown and support is given
  • Learning is seen as a co-operative exercise
  • There is a clear understanding of what has to be learnt
  • He/she understands the importance of participation
  • The client is set realistic and achievable tasks
  • Methods are used which encourage client contributions

Introducing IT training

When you are starting an activity and seeking to engage the client, you could try a brief introduction to your planned activity and then either direct the client to the activity.

During IT Lessons - Giving Direction

Think about:

  • Giving supportive feedback
  • Encouraging clients to see their progress so their confidence is built
  • Correcting misunderstandings swiftly so that errors are not repeated

Feeding back to clients on their skills/abilities:

  • Comment on use of particular skills and how they can be applied
  • Encourage practice of neglected skills
  • Give constructive feedback and try to link to specifics
  • Be encouraging and friendly when commenting on progress and learning - everyone wants to feel they are doing well!

Closing Lessons

If you're clients are going to be practising beyond your lesson, spend time discussing how to tackle specific tasks and answering any questions the client might raise. To get an idea of feedback on how your client feels lessons are progressing ask "light touch" questions, e.g.:

  • What questions are on your mind at the end of this session?
  • What has been the most significant thing you've learned?
  • Are there any areas upon which you would like to focus next lesson?

Not Contributing

Where a client is trying to fulfil a particular objective, avoid doing the work (e.g. writing the code) for them, or the point of the exercise is removed. Try giving broad hints or outlining key steps so they understand how to do something rather than just doing it for them and having them watch in a confused daze.

IT Training: Reflecting on your training provision

As you work with more clients you may wish to start considering what worked / what didn't, in addition to any feedback First Tutors: I.T. receives from clients directly. Below is some "food for thought" to help you in the process.

How well did I .....? Very Well Satisfactory Could Be Better
Clarify what the client wanted to learn   
Prepare for the session   
Get the session underway (establish aims, etc)   
Ask questions and prompt the client   
Handle the client's comments and questions   
Respond to the client as an individual   
Keep the focus on the main topic   
Help sustain client interest    
Provide help when clients encountered difficulties   
Ensure key points were drawn out   
Bring things to a close   

New to IT Tutoring?

If you are new to IT training you are welcome to register with First Tutors: I.T. to attract potential clients.

During the registration process you will be asked to declare which subjects you wish to teach, how much you will charge and to tell prospective clients about your approach and experience.

Choosing your Specialisms

Our advice to new IT trainers would be to think carefully about which specialisms you choose to offer and the level at which you feel you can teach comfortably. To increase enquiries for IT trainers, we invite clients to give feedback on a trainer so that the trainer benefits from positive feedback. Obviously, if you are teaching a subject you are not terribly confident in, this feedback may not go so well! So think broadly about what your strengths are and build your reputation on that.

Beginning IT Lessons with a Client

Your first session is essential in giving the right impression to your client. But more important is getting this far. When you are matched with your first client, follow up quickly in arranging a lesson. Client are often anxious when seeking a trainer as they are seeking to solve a problem, so will look to commence lessons as soon as possible. Not keeping an appointment, showing up late or arriving ill-prepared are all ways to lose a client before you've started so avoid these mistakes!

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