by Josh Tafoya, Technical Trainer
I visit multiple monitoring centers every year as a trainer for Bold Group. Our ManitouNEO software is robust and complex, but I enjoy showing people the most efficient ways to use it by translating “Manitou” into “English.”
The biggest thing I’ve noticed from all my time as a trainer is this: the most successful monitoring centers have people who never stop training and learning. It sounds simplistic, doesn’t it? But it’s the absolute truth. There are many, many people I talk to regularly who are the most capable Manitou users in their organizations because their training never ends; they continue to learn better ways to use the software.
Often, it is regular use of the product, the reading of release notes, and plain “trying stuff out” that is the source of their learning. I don’t claim to have a complete knowledge of Manitou, just a thorough one. I know several Manitou users that know many parts of the software much deeper than I ever will because they dug into it, they tried things, and they asked questions of Bold when they couldn’t go any further.
These people also use their resources. Sometimes they ask questions of each other on BoldTalk. Other times they dig through the myriad free resources available through BoldU. The organizations who invest in on-site training, the instructor-led learning on BoldU, the Bold Users Conference, or the Manitou Elite Certification program reap further benefits of knowledgeable and engaged staff.
As a trainer, one of the things which bear repeating is there are different styles of learning. There are visual learners, who learn by seeing. There are audible learners, who learn by hearing. There are kinesthetic learners, who learn by doing. But most learners, in my experience, are a combination. I’ve found most often all three methods, when used together, are most effective.
For those that are Central Station Managers or Trainers, the thing that you’ve probably learned by now is another effective method of learning is by teaching.
Stay with me here.
For all the times I thought I knew something in Manitou I would need to teach, if it went much beyond the basic description of the item, I might have been in trouble. Because I was expected to show Monitoring Center users how to do stuff, and they would test it right away, there was no opportunity for me fake it. So often, the answer was “I don’t know, let’s try it and find out”.
But this approach was incredibly successful in teaching me the ins and outs of Manitou. Knowing that I would be responsible for teaching it to somebody else meant that I needed to do more than have a cursory explanation, if for no other reason than I didn’t want to be called out in front of people for giving the wrong answer while knowing I was giving the wrong answer.
So, my advice is this:
Never stop learning. Register for BoldU, whether it’s just for the free resources or to get access to the exceptional training materials Bold offers. Come to the 2018 Bold Users Conference, happening at the end of July in Albuquerque. It’s the best training and networking opportunity we offer all year, and we have a lot of stuff to talk about and show you!
But the most cost-effective way is to commit to showing somebody else how to use Manitou. Even if the conversation with the learner begins with “I don’t know all of the details, but we are going to learn it together,” you will retain the knowledge better. The added bonus is if you use this method for little bits of Manitou (or anything else for that matter), and give each person a little bit to teach another person, pretty soon everybody’s depth of knowledge grows. Point to one person and tell them to teach Open/Close Schedules to somebody else. Tell the next person to teach Reports to somebody else, and the next person to teach Programming, and so on.
Of course, Bold will always have our Training Professionals available for whatever needs arise, and our learning opportunities aren’t going anywhere. No matter how it is that you’re learning, the key is to never stop!