THE TRAINER POINT OF VIEW
I have noticed that I tend to expect smaller and smaller pieces of information that focus on the exact aspect I am interested in. How about you? How much of a text on a website, in a newspaper or in an e-mail do you really read before skipping to the next paragraph?
The same thing happens in education. Instead of the 3-day training classes for Trados tools that I started with in 1997, I am now asked to cram all important information on much more complex tools into one day – without exercises. But what I also see happening is that the companies expect their employees to be able to work efficiently with a tool after a ½-day introduction. No time for learning by doing, no time to make mistakes, no time to try out features and processes and adapt them to the way you work. Mostly, this means that people will not work with the tools at all (I see that because one year after the initial training, the clients ask me to do another training, because they did not have time to implement the tool yet…).
So we move more and more into self-paced online training, which is a good addition, but not the best way to go for everybody
And make no mistake, the smaller the learning items get, the better the trainer has to be who creates those learning bits. They need to be able to focus on one particular feature without leaving out all the background information that you will need to understand the feature and to be able to use it effectively. A video that only tells you to click A then click B without telling you why and what you will need to consider before you click these options is not a training video – it is a video and audio representation of most online help contents I have seen so far – which mostly is not as helpful as the name Online Help suggests 🙂
So, how small is still big enough to be useful?
From my own experience, I would say anything up to 5-8 minutes will be watched fully. Anything that is longer than that, people will start skipping parts or do something else on the side.
What is your opinion on this? Looking forward to your input and experience.
(Trainer for translation tools since 1997)