The case of the mining software training course

In 2008 I was introduced to the concept of providing software training to users through my current role.

It is something that I had experienced previously, but from the other side of the fence – the client side. I received training on a specific mining application. To this day, I don’t remember too much of that training. I don’t remember the trainer’s details, I don’t remember too much about the software. Usage of the software on my own time eventually made me realise that in those three days of training, I would never have been able to understand all the concepts. It probably was not expected of me to do so anyway. So what did the company pay for – for me to be out of the office for three days?

In 2009 I trained up a youngster that was moved from a department where he had had no exposure to mining software. It was expected that he would understand all the concepts during the three day course. After the first hour, it became clear that a different approach was needed. I had to go back to pure basics. This was not the application, but review of the concepts of computer operating procedures. Things that we take for granted, like a left and right mouse click, was foreign to him. In the evenings I would spend time with him going through files structures, directories and what the left and right click does. During the initial training we did not cover the application at all.

I went back a year later and he sat in again on the follow-up application training. It was one of those moments when I realised that in my approach of going back to basics, I changed his career. He was able to use computers and that eventually opened up a completely new career path. Today he is a competent professional in the application environment.

What I am trying to get to, albeit via a very long winded approach, is that training and education is what is needed globally to raise the level of skills. This is not just applicable to mining, but everywhere else. This is where it all starts. Probably every person that reads this will have had some form of professional training. Removing the occasional “accidental condescending” approach to training, will go a long way to securing the knowledge for the next generation of users. I suppose I go even a step further and use this analogy for consulting but that is for another blog!

Happy mining everyone!

Paul Ehlers
Technical Services Manager - Africa
February 13, 2015

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