In this edition of our Training Tips series, we asked Erynn Baird, Education Manager at Opal to share her insights and tips about how they train customers.
How did you get started in this field?
How I got my start into the world of training has not been a linear journey. Working for a startup, I am used to wearing a ton of different hats. When an opportunity arose for someone to train 70 users at once, I volunteered and quickly fell into the training role. It’s been my home ever since, and while it’s been a wild ride, it feels VERY right.
Because my path to training has been untraditional, at times I’ve felt either under-prepared or unfamiliar with the concept of training and adult education. But once I gained confidence in my ability to stand in front of a room, connect with an audience, and tell them how to use our software, I was able to grow my skills in adult education.
So how did I get up to speed? By diving head first into the trenches and figuring it out through A LOT of trial and error. I learned a ton along the way but hit a wall when it came to going beyond instructor-led training. It was hard to think about things like self-serve and on-demand when I was jumping from one call to the next, or traveling to my next on-site training.
The biggest shift came when I was able to grow my team. Each addition helped us evolve our program to new levels and teach ME more about this field. When you bring together a collective group of people, you get unique perspectives that you might never get working solo.
What’s something you wish someone had told you from Day 1 of starting your training program?
Don’t spend too much time fretting over feeling like your program is not what it should be. First off, make sure you have a clear list of what training resources your customers really need to be successful users. Month by month, chip away at it. It can be overwhelming if you think about all the things you’re not doing. All companies start at ground level and have to figure it out. Sure, some have more resources at their fingertips, but a successful training program can’t be built overnight.
Additionally, once you get your wish list in place, it will never be done. It will never seem like enough. New technologies will emerge, the L&D space will evolve, your product will change, and you’ll be challenged to keep up. It’s a good challenge to have though...hello job security!
What's one thing you've learned about training in the past year?
One of the biggest learnings I had this year, which I owe to my team for giving me the freedom to step away from the weeds and have the headspace to think strategically, is how important it is to cater to all learning types. This is something I’ve known we were missing out on, but something I didn’t have the bandwidth to tackle.
So this year, we were able to roll out an LMS. Up until recently, we relied on instructor-led training, webinars, on-demand videos and product documentation. We didn’t have a solid way for people to self-serve.
The Opal Learning Center has courses filled with text, video, gifs, screenshots and hands-on exercises for people to really grasp how to not only use Opal’s capabilities but how to use it to do their jobs better. We also are finally able to track who is going through our trainings. It’s been a true game-changer for us and I’m really proud of the work our team has done to help improve the way Opal users will learn in the future.
In our Training Tips series, we asked Training, Marketing, and Customer Success Managers what some of their best practices are to get the most out of a customer training program. Stay tuned for new Q&As each month!