Every training session presents a challenge.

While the material for the Servicemax Admin Certification stays the same, each delivery must differ depending on the audience. Quickly (and correctly!) ascertaining the required information from a group of 15 people you have never met before is no easy task – but an essential skill for any trainer.

If the class is inexperienced each module must be delivered slower, each point explained more meticulously and each demo navigated at a pace that allows the user to see the cursor as much more than simply a blur whizzing around the page. Suddenly the agenda seems impossible to fit into the 4 day schedule.

If the class is very experienced you run the risk of them losing interest, playing with other areas of the system when you’re still introducing the basics and asking questions so ludicrously complex you have to spend your lunches drawing technical design solutions on whiteboards to help them. Such is their speed, the attendees have blitzed all pre-planned assignments by day 3 and I am now struggling to concoct more scenarios, preparing some test questions and setting some deviously complex tasks just to keep them off Facebook.

Then you have the toughest scenario of all, the one that in reality is the situation you will likely always find yourself in, the class of varied experience. To the left, a user who has never seen Servicemax before and each module is a Pandora’s box of functionality and terminology. To the right, someone who worked on their implementation of the system and knows the object model so well they see it in their sleep. Tailoring an approach to work for both is tough, it requires flexibility and creativity to ensure you dedicate enough time to each that they are not over/under whelmed respectively.

They key is setting spur of the moment bonus tasks to those that are flying through the material. This keeps the experienced attendees challenged, while giving you enough time to support those that are struggling, and importantly not make the latter feel rushed or a burden on the class.

It is with this mind I declare my thanks to the unsung hero of many a training session, the humble icebreaker. As part of the Servicemax Admin Certification we have a simple one, each attendee declares three expectations and three excitements for the week ahead. From this I am able to determine what side of the line each budding student falls on and therefore consider what approach to take, firstly with the class as a whole and secondly with each individual when they pose a question.

From this I can gauge the general knowledge level of the class, know who I may need to check up on during assignments to ensure they are coping ok, and most importantly can start racking my brains for dastardly additional tasks to slow down the experienced attendees so everyone finds the week challenging and rewarding enough to be worthwhile.


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