What Do Gardening and Software Training Have in Common?

—Rachel Garris |
What Do Gardening and Software Training Have in Common?
Rachel Garris,

We’ve all been guilty of murdering a fern or two before. It’s easy to get overzealous and douse your beloved greenery with too much water. Gardening and software training have this principle in common. The same way you can’t put a years-worth of water on a plant, you can’t throw too much training information at users at once–their motivation to learn will drown as quickly as your overwatered fern.

You can’t expect users to thrive in one giant, once-a-year training session- pace yourself! Small, easy to understand chunks of information will be infinitely more powerful than one large, dragging training session. A steady cadence of information, similar to scheduled watering, will give users what they need, when they need it, without being overbearing.

As you think toward a software training strategy, remember that bite-sized amounts of information at strategic intervals ensure steady growth and maximum retention. Lasting change happens when users understand and retain information. One giant training session may have plenty of useful, well thought out information—it’s the length that makes users tune out and kills retention. Too much of the right information at the wrong time can easily be forgotten, but bite-sized amounts of information can pack a big punch.

You want your training to be effective, and you want a steady growth of users’ skill sets and comprehension. Tend to that steady growth by focusing on brevity, and timing of your training—your users will thank you, and your message will stick. Unfortunately, that may not save your overwatered plants…

The "I'm silently correcting your grammar" mug on Rachel's desk tells you something about who she is and why she's so passionate about her craft. Apart from being a wordsmith, Rachel is also a ballerina, mountain biker, disc jockey, and world traveler.
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