I work for IT Training at Indiana University. We teach workshops in the classroom and online, and we create training materials for various entities within the university. I came into the job expecting to work mainly on creating content for online learning associated with Oncourse, IU’s course management system. I was asked if I’d be interested in instructing and assisting workshops. I said I would be, so I “auditioned” for an instructor role by teaching a sample PowerPoint workshop. I choose PowerPoint because that’s the software I’ve used the most in the last 5 years or so.
My sample class was okay, but not the greatest. I was under confident because I wasn’t familiar enough with the materials. If I had been able to create my own class I might have done better, but instructing for IT Training requires that you use the materials that they have developed. They’re good materials, created by very knowledgeable people, but they’re not written in a way that resonates with me. So I ended up teaching a few workshops and having mediocre to terrible experiences. I concluded that I just don’t enjoy teaching. Luckily, last fall, I was put on a project that took me out of the classroom. I was helping to develop some materials for a live workshop and I got to make six training videos for IU’s new business intelligence system. I am good at making videos. It’s my thing, so I was in my comfort zone. The problem I have now is that if I want to continue working here I’ll have to take some classroom assignments. I’m slated to assist a number of workshops this summer, which isn’t too bad, except classroom assistants have a tough job. While the instructor has a definite plan in front of him/her for teaching the class, the assistant has to deal with every bizarre situation the students can get into.
That wouldn’t be so bad, if every student followed along with the instructor, but there are some who work ahead, click things they weren’t supposed to click, and just get themselves into messes that the assistant cannot get them out of. In those situations, you can only do your best.
In the meantime, I’ve been charged with transforming the materials for an in-person workshop into video format (much like the offerings on lynda.com). This is a proof-of-concept project to see if this kind of training can work. I am sure that it will work.
I’m taking our Photoshop CS6: The Basics materials and breaking the three-hour workshop into several short videos. Ideally, each video would be about five minutes, but it won’t always work out that way as I’m trying to find natural stopping points for each section of instruction. Some are just move involved that others. I’m really enjoying this task because as I said, this is my thing. I’m also finding that I’m really learning the workshop. I feel like I could teach the first section with confidence, and I might even enjoy doing it. So here’s what dawned on me.
The best way for me to learn these workshops is to turn them into videos. I started this one by writing scripts for the voiceover. I stuck to the materials (deviating a couple of times to accommodate the video viewing audience). When you write a script based on existing steps and instructions you have to learn. I know this stuff now. I own it! I have learned how I learn.
What I want to do now is make videos for all of the workshops I’m assisting this summer, even if the boss doesn’t want them. I don’t really have time to do this, but man would it make me super smart!
Maybe I’ll try doing one for Excel: The Basics. I really have a fear of Excel. Then again, InDesign gives me fits as well.
We’ll see what happens.