On a weekly basis, I need to train new DAM users as well as give quick tutorials to current DAM users on specific aspects of the DAM.
There are two ways I can train anyone regardless of where they are in the world as long as they have an internet connection. Neither involves expensive, time-consuming travel. Why should anyone spend a day traveling just to meet for an hour of training?
I regularly get a call, email or instant message with a specific DAM question. I often forward them a link from an intranet wiki with relevant information and supporting documentation to answer their questions. The wiki includes a FAQ page compiled of Frequently Asked Questions which links back to related parts of the DAM manual for details. This can include step by step directions on how to perform a specific task in the DAM. This is my indirect way to train, support and reinforce the ways to use the DAM.
Then, there is the direct way. If they need further assistance, we can setup a quick web conferencing session (a screen sharing conference call). Most people are familiar with the idea of the conference call where many people can call one phone number to collaborate simply by voice. Now, add the component of sharing your computer screen with the people you are speaking with. Pull up the DAM on your computer screen so everyone can follow along, see your cursor and watch step-by-step motions during the training. Note that everyone needs a fast, reliable internet connection to do this and the person sharing their screen will need to really slow down their motions for the cursor to be followed because there is often a small delay between what is said and what is seen when screen sharing. If training involves people outside of my time zone, I am careful to schedule training when it is convenient for the majority, but we are certainly not limited to the 9am to 5pm schedule any longer (that can be good and bad, depending what the priority happens to be).
There are several web conferencing tools available whether they are free or paid, but all . Some of the well-known free web conferencing services are quite good. The main differences I have noticed with the paid versions of web conferencing are often:
- Better security
- More reliability
- More options (like built-in polling and IM)
- Allow more users at one time on the same web conference
I have heard of some organizations recording and making available a series of ‘how-to’ videos to supplement their written documentation about how to use the DAM. This can be more time-consuming in the creation of these videos and if your DAM system ever upgrades, those videos may need to be updated to reflect new (often improved) changes to workflow. Luckily, Web conferences can also be recorded and watched on demand at a later date.
Of course, all these tools can be used for so much more than just DAM training and support. As an early adopter to these tools, I have seen many naysayers begin to eventually adopt the same tools (for the same reason$). It is amazing how efficient and effective tools can grow so rapidly in popularly. I hope this gives a helpful glimpse of how training can be done regardless of geographic location.
How do you train your remote DAM users?
November 16, 2009 at 8:36 AM
One of the things I would recommend is that you provide users with access to the reference materials that might include:
>traditional ‘print’ reference in a form such as Word, or PDF
>Short, task-specific demonstrations of ‘how to’ tasks. Recommendation is start with the ‘universal’ tasks. For example all users need to know how to download a file from the DAM, thus you can provide a brief demonstration (using a screencasting tool such as Captivate, Camtasia, etc.). Additionally, you might add procedures relevant to your content managers, and your technical administrators, etc.
>In addition to system-specific materials Your materials should include pre-requisite concepts (color space, resolution) and principles (ie, IF the image is a photo for Web, THEN convert to JPEG)
>If you have a learning management system, and manager can assign materials to users, and to assess user competency, that’s great. If you have an instruction designer available who can design a DAM curriculum, even better.
If not, you can house the demonstrations (usually Flash output) in your DAM.
November 16, 2009 at 8:34 PM
Thank you for your comment.
Since supplying printed reference material has been found to be very wasteful (even as an email attachment to all DAM users) and difficult to version, I shy away from this practice. The idea is to make sure everyone can read the latest, up-to-date information about the DAM which could be edited/added to weekly or monthly, while still having the documentation remain fully searchable so the reader can focus on just what they need to know. Therefore, I prefer using an intranet wiki for dissemination.
I fully agree with you and do use short demonstrations on how to do a specific task in the DAM accompanied by screen shots with highlighted areas to focus on. While screencasting has its added benefits, these have to be all re-done each time the GUI changes after major DAM upgrades or if buttons move/change names on occasion.
Much of the DAM functionality is permission-based, with pre-requisites or simply have required fields of metadata which are also explained in the documentation.
Checklists can also help specific roles within the DAM user community to keep track of all their pre-requisites even before uploading to the DAM.
Documenting how the DAM works ‘behind the scenes’ with accompanying ECM systems is also a good idea so even engineers can have some continuity across the board.