Apr06

How We've Adapted to Remote Training

How We've Adapted to Remote Training

I have run a number of IT courses for HMRC offices in Northampton, Peterborough and Luton over the past few months and had some more scheduled in the diary. Then everything changed with the Covid-19 virus doing its worst and effectively shutting down working life as we know it. So, for the next scheduled course, Spreadsheet Software Level 3, at the Northampton office it was no longer to be the nice relaxing little drive up, through the countryside from my house to their office on the edge of town. We had to think of a way of running the course remotely.

I had observed that HMRC use Microsoft Teams to communicate with each other and this made me think, could it be used to run the course? Now they may know how to use it, but I certainly didn’t, after a rather rapid learning curve, it became clear that it would be an ideal platform. We have video links, screen sharing, a chat facility, invitations and a joining mechanism through the existing Outlook email. I did a couple of test runs on Teams with my colleague Peter Finch and also on my wife, who was working upstairs and uses Teams to communicate with her Chamber of Commerce colleagues. Pete and I decided between us that it would work. We now had to adapt our learning style and content to the new delivery medium.

Changing a tried and tested training style and content was quite a time-consuming process, I was certainly quite anxious about the whole thing. It turns out I had to send out an invitation to the course from within Teams or no one could join it, I only found that out quite late on, that only ramped up the tension, what else did I not know? Pete and I worked closely together in the days before the course, checking how we were going to run things, making sure that our Excel formulas worked and swapping ideas on how to get the workbooks completed. We split the learners in to two groups of nine and agreed that we would continue to deliver our own version of the course, using our own spreadsheets and formulas and explain this to the learners.

Day one arrived and I set myself up at the now famous dining room table. I started by asking all of the learners to have a video link on, so that I could greet them personally and put a face to a name. It turns out that I had met two of the learners while walking around their office, this was nice for me. I was also joined by another TCHC tutor Sarah Randall, so it was again nice to have a friendly face on the course, this helped to settle my nerves. I discovered a useful feature of Teams, when someone was talking to me, the software put their initial in a box, so I could identify them. I made a point of replying using their name, this helped to build rapport. We managed to have some laughs along the way, just like normal and we managed to work our way through the course at roughly the same pace as when I am in the room.

Naturally we have a few technical issues, mainly with the pressure on the learner’s home broadband. They all had family at home, doing work or schoolwork or just using the system for amusement. This meant that we had some bandwidth issues. The only other issues that we had, were when someone was not able to get a formula to work for example, ‘=IF(H3>$K$3,"","Below Target")’ can be hard enough when you are with the learners, but when you can’t walk around the room to help them it is a different experience, so I put text boxes on screen containing the formulas. This particular client uses Microsoft Surface computers, which look very trendy, but have quite a small screen, Excel shows the buttons but without the written name. So, I put text boxes on screen containing pictures of screen buttons again this helped, that was the only other real issue.

At the end of the scheduled 2 days, we finished the course exactly on schedule, as a bonus we had time to run an additional module of Data handling tools that they enjoyed, everyone likes Pivot Tables! Remote Training is clearly the way forward for now and also, when things get back to normal it will allow us to reach out further geographically. I am sure that Pete and I can adapt the full range of IT courses to this method of delivery. And I am sure that other tutors will be able to adapt their own programmes as well. Necessity is the Mother of Invention, said someone famous and it has certainly proved to be the case here.

Stephen - Tutor

Feb24

Welcome to TCHC's New Website

Categories // Marketing and Communication

Welcome to TCHC's New Website

We wanted a site that would improve the user experience and make it easy for you to navigate to the pages you need. No longer is there a big list of our products and services, now our improved menu items and categories will direct you quickly to where you need to be.

Oct16

Brexit preparation – is staff training the answer?

Brexit preparation – is staff training the answer?

Brexit is a topic that has been looming over Britain for a while and has been of concern for businesses.

Could Brexit negatively impact the economy, employability and the availability of jobs roles?

Oct07

MyGaps, my mental health

MyGaps, my mental health

In a report earlier this year, it was stated that mental health amongst school children in England had deteriorated in the past two years, 83% of 8,600 teachers surveyed said they’d noted an increase in the number of children in their care with poor mental health.

Sep15

Staff Training Helps Improve Staff Loyalty

Staff Training Helps Improve Staff Loyalty

Staff loyalty benefits the company in more ways than not. When hiring new staff, there’s always uncertainty on the value of the employee, will the time and money placed into recruitment be worth it? Will the effort of initial work training be worth it? Providing training for the employees increases the risk factor, however, the success rates of staff becoming long term is high. This is due to various reasons such as gratitude to the company, acknowledgement that the company cares and feeling of being indebted and wanting to show appreciation.

Aug20

Don’t let your unspent apprenticeship funds go to waste

Don’t let your unspent apprenticeship funds go to waste

“Just 8 per cent of apprenticeship levy funds have been spent in the 10 months since the scheme’s launch, with £1.28bn of £1.39bn paid in by businesses “sitting unused” in accounts” according to an analysis conducted by the Open University in 2018.

But now, if you are a levy paying employer, any of your unspent apprenticeship funds can be transferred to other employers. This brilliant initiative prevents any funds that you haven’t used, expiring (they expire after two years).

Aug13

Results Day anxiety help list

Results Day anxiety help list

GCSE results day is approaching at lightning speed.

 It could be a day that you are looking forward to, eager to know which 6th form you’ll be going to, or excited for the celebrations with your family and friends. However, this can also be a time of extreme nerves and anxiety.

Aug08

Inspirational People

Eminem

Inspirational People

He dropped out of school at age 14, after failing year nine 3 times due to boredom, the only subject he passed was English. 
Marshal Mathers - Eminem- found words powerful and fascinating.

 

Jul19

Results Day

Results Day

It can be a stressful time, waiting for the A Level results to be published. You want to know the outcome now, or never.

But when you do finally get them, what if the grades aren’t what you had hoped for?
What if?

Jul18

Building Better Opportunities: travel's no issue

Building Better Opportunities: travel's no issue

Travel to interviews, work placements or education facilities can be a hurdle, not just due to licenses or rail links, but finances too. This is a hurdle that many students potentially face when going to university open days this autumn. Fuel can cost quite a bit, and if you are travelling from one end of the country to the other, this can accumulate a significant expense.

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