Last year my friend Lesley (The IT-girl) and I organised 4 blog-workshops for local businesses on how to use a blog-platform (Typepad) to grow their businesses. Some of our 'students' are now using this extra web-tool to help grow their business; some - although impressed of what it could mean for their business - never got further than a first try. That happens. And then it is no use of asking yourself why they don't see the benefits of doing more with it - they all set-up an account, wrote their first post and/or page, were very enthusiastic - but don't continue with it.
The only thing you - as teacher - can do about it is to reconsider the method of training/instruction. Of course a workshop is fun and gets the enthusiasm going. But then we all go away to our normal daily, most times hectic work-tasks and 9 times out of 10 the enthusiasm and plans wane quickly.
That's what we did: reconsidered our method, reconfigured it first to one-on-one sessions with a slightly better result. Time to read back the notes they took on the instructions, the how to's and where to find this or that turned out to be the biggest 'stumble'.
So we are now in the process of reconfiguring the whole training again in two ways:
- a manual with lessons on the why, the how to, the edit here, add there and link to this
- an online training - on a blog-platform of course! - that contains all the lessons from the manual mentioned above
And we've found the most perfect 'little' program that can do both - and more - at the same time!
A few months ago Ed Rivis (author of The Ultimate Webmarketing Strategy) made me aware of a software program he uses frequently to write his own knowledge programs: ScreenSteps, the Documentation Tool (from Blue Mango Learning Systems). I only had to take one look at it to see what benefits it had for our purpose! And I opted immediately for the Pro version.
With ScreenSteps you can:
- write individual lessons - but how!(see next point)
- very simple capture screen shots/snaps per step of the lesson to show where to go, where to find, how to etc instead of trying to explain it words
- add tags to the lesson
- create a manual per subject or training and fill this with lessons
- add sections to the manual and fill this with lessons
- search your whole lesson library on the tags you've given them
- with one mouse click split a lesson in two lessons
- in the manual move sections and lessons up or down to enhance or change the structure of the whole training
- drag and drop existing lessons into other manuals (and this feature I use frequently: the guide I'm working on the moment for the online training I partly use for my 'blog-site' clients' manual, but more an that in another post)
But there is more! And this makes ScreenSteps even more versatile!
- You can export individual lessons, sections and whole manuals as PDF-files using a standard or custom-made template
- You can export individual lessons to a blog (tell ScreenSteps which blog-platform you use and if you have more than 1 blog - like I have on my Typepad account - it will ask you which blog you want it exported in and under which category you want it published!)
- You can export an individual lesson as a HTML-page and add it to your website, again using a standard or custom made template
- If you don't have a blog or website you can add ScreenSteps Live to your account and upload it there for the whole world to see.
(At the moment I am not using this feature but already know you can create a whole online training site or intranet with it, plus you are able to download lessons others from your company/organisation wrote and edit it - more effective and efficient than emailing them for the original)
Since discovering ScreenSteps writing the lessons for the online 'practical typepad-guide' has become so much easier. Some days I'm able to export 4 or more lessons to my (still hidden) special blog-site and still can email every individual lesson to one of my 'blog-site' clients when they get stuck on some item of their site. Answering questions from them turn into lessons and are added to the manual. How simple can a trainer's/coach live be? With one simple and versatile program - of course combined with other simple programs (Typepad to name but one): ScreenSteps.
Give it a try and be as pleasantly amazed as I was. And the price! The Pro version costs only $59.97 which is around £ 30.00
A simple, practical and extremely cost-effective program