Most of us would quietly, if not openly, admit that we could likely do critical tasks better in some way. Whether that remedial action be a few tweaks to update a current skill set or instituting an entire culture and behavioral change (as evidenced in the previous post), it generally comes down to
- identifying the need and then
- –and this is the biggy– finding the time to do something about it.
The end game with many computer and IT related tasks is “I just want it to work”, but this approach will quickly prove to be a black-hole of lost time if you shelve a need to develop skills in deference to a bulging Outlook calendar. Our post this week comes from a teaching fellow (and having been one, they’re not known for copious amounts of spare time) who, despite already being a proficient user of IT, did make the time and found the rewards paid unimagined dividends:
“I was recruited in early September and enjoyed the diversity of the different trainings offered by CAPOD. I already had a fair knowledge of Office but decided to refresh my memory and get started with Office 2010 as I had only used Office 2007 in the past. I decided therefore to enrol on most of the Word, Powerpoint and Excel workshops. It might look like it was a lot of time spent but I would now ascertain that I have got this time back as I am using the software.
Overall, the workshops are excellent. The examples are very well chosen and we work on real documents. [The instructor] starts with basic fundamentals and raises the level progressively while being very attentive to the audience. The “hands-on” workshops are a very efficient way to learn and remember how to do things in practice.
When I used Office, I used to say ‘I am pretty sure this can be done easily but I do not know how!’ or ‘Where is this button? I am sure it was there last time but I cannot find it now’ or ‘it would be good to have a shortcut to do that’. When I attended the Office workshops, I appreciated all the methods, as well as tips and tricks [the instructor] gave us. I even learnt things I couldn’t imagine Office is able to do. So even with a preliminarily good knowledge of Office, I didn’t have the feeling that I lost time at the workshops.
A couple of weeks later I decided to give a seminar to my colleagues about some of my teaching duties. I had to extract data from students’ marks (use of functions in Excel) and then I plotted graphs and finally I made my presentation using PowerPoint via a Word document. This is when I realised how beneficial the workshops had been, since I was able to do all what I aimed to and saved a huge amount of time. Without having attended the workshops I wouldn’t have been able to produce such high quality work in a reasonable time.
Thus, in my experience, these workshops help you to really master Office and become able to manage things you were not even aware of before. They are a sensible investment, no matter how broad your level of knowledge when you attend them.”