Leading Edge Training Solutions

training trainers, supervisors and their teams


Favourate Mac Applications

At the risk of starting yet another favourite mac apps blog, I thought I should mention a few of my absolutely favourite applications, those that every now and then I think, I’m glad I have this gem in my toolkit. As a trainer, I need hardly mention that Keynote or Powerpoint are a must, so I’m not going to mention them at all (‘whatever you do don’t mention death by powerpoint’, whoops did I say that word again?)

Seriously, my all time favourite has got to be Imagewell, I always turn to it when I have a quick and easy image editing task. As stated on their site “ImageWell is a powerful, compact image editor for all the simple, everyday image editing that you need to do. Drag images in and out of the well, resize, crop, shape, rotate, flip, add watermark, label, border, drop shadow, plus more.” I use ImageWell weekly and it is great value for money.

My second favourite is Dropbox, it’s a great way to send files that are too big to send by email. Just load them into Dropbox, email the url to whoever needs to open the files, and they can download them. Great for sharing photos or large work files with pictures/illustrations. In my case these might be training manuals. The great thing about Dropbox is that it is free and you get more storage space if you refer someone else, and they become a Dropbox user. Speaking of which, anybody want a referral?

And then off course there is the very programme that I use to create this blog, and this website - Rapidweaver. I love the fact that at one end you can build and publish a very decent website with minimal know-how. Then as you grow in confidence and knowledge, your website can take on whatever look your creativity dreams up.

I could go on, but this is already getting too long, do you have any favourite apps that are useful to a trainer. ( Windows folk welcome to add their thoughts as well)


Humour in training

I recently joined an online forum for Training Practitioners; its one of those things you might consider to help you see what fellow trainers are thinking in other parts of the word. I was attracted by a a discussion on ‘Incorporating fun/humour into training’ So I joined in, most folk agreed that they found spontaneous humour helpful and there were some interesting ideas to plan in some chuckles. I thought I would share my contribution here :-

‘Part of it I think is about knowing yourself and what works best for you. I don’t remember jokes and would not deliver a good punchline, but there are people who do. Most stand-up comedians spend a lot of time rehearsing their lines and the timing is important to them. As for me, rehearsing would be a disaster, I am spontaneous. But I do know that my spontaneous humour works best when I know the people I am with, so I invest in getting to know and relax with my course participants before the course. How? A few emails going between us prior to the course, being there with them having coffee/tea before the course, instead of standing up front reading my notes, a fun warm up activity fairly early on. So in a sense I have prepared the way for my spontaneous humour. And then there are those short video clips or comic strips salted into the presentation, carefully chosen to make a learning point, introduce a topic, but at the same time signalling that you have a sense of humour and we are going to have fun.’

You will find the full discussion


e-learning or CBT?

We used to call it CBT or computer based training, learning modules that you progressed through, sitting at your computer. But now its e-learning (electronically supported learning) as growth in the internet, and alternative means of accessing it, have flourished. We have dabbled in CBT over the years, from Macromedia Director developed modules for operator training, to Computer Based assessment tools. Now that computer based, or should I say electronic based, learning interventions are becoming more popular, we have decided to dive in head first and offer this as one of our skill sets/product lines. Our first e-learning module, on Fire Safety, will be ready in a few weeks. We are offering 3 months free access to it for all companies who send a delegate to our upcoming (3 May) Health and Safety course. All we ask in return is some feedback on the module. Here is a link to the flyer.

e-learning module fire safety

Does technology scare you, as a trainer?

Well it doesn’t seem to scare Purdy, the office cat, she’s all over the keyboard and off course the mouse; she has even been trained to watch the printing.

Personally, I love technology and can find my away around most situations when it doesn’t behave. But even in this day and age when computers are part of everyones lives, not everyone chooses to become fully literate with their hardware and software. One cant blame them, there is more to life than that and the field changes so quickly.

Crammed on the trainer’s table at our recent training for trainers course was a projector, amplified speakers, two macbooks, a camera, cellphone, remote controls and off course all the connecting wires. Over the years I’ve had to deal with laptops not talking to projectors, flash drives not showing up on the computer, video clips not opening on the available software, VGA connectors needing an adapter and recently a ‘keynote’ presentation created in the latest version of the software not opening on a computer with the previous version.

What’s the solution? Well, for me it’s 1.Take my own laptop and projector, even if there is a built-in system at the venue, 2. Checklist to make sure I have all the hardware I need (including that little adapter that I have left behind before, and the power lead) Have multiple video clip playback programs (quicktime, VLC, MPEG streamclip etc) 3. Save my presentations on multiple media (hard drive, flashdrive, CD/DVD) If you have created your presentation with the latest version of software and you are presenting on someone else’s computer you could use the ‘save as’ function to save a second copy in a previous version.

Overkill? feel free to join in the discussion to share your presentation horror stories or to give your ideas to cover all the bases.

trainer technology