|Sign-Up for Free Exclusive Services:||Portals|||||eNewsletters|||||Web Seminars|||||dataWarehouse.com|||||DM Review Magazine|
|Covering Business Intelligence, Integration & Analytics||Advanced Search|
Editors Note: Two online courses in the BI/DW certificate program from Knightsbridge Solutions, UC Berkeley Extension Online and dataWarehouse.com are available next semester. Data Warehousing and Information Access Strategies is offered January 5 February 2, 2004 and March 3 March 31, 2004. Planning and Project Management of a Data Warehouse is offered February 3 March 2, 2004 and April 5 May 3, 2004. For more information visit www.dataWarehouse.com/certification/, to register go to http://learn.berkeley.edu/base/.
When developing and delivering training programs for information consumers, organizations often overlook the fact that they are dealing with adult learners. Adult learners have different motivating factors for attending training courses than do children, teenagers or young adults. In order to create an effective learning experience for information consumers, organizations must consider the unique characteristics of adult learners. In the first part of this three part series, I examined various course delivery mechanisms for information consumers. Organizations can choose from a broad range of delivery options in order to provide students with choices about their learning environment and the delivery mechanism that is most convenient for them. This article focuses on the content and structure of courses and materials, which are the most important elements in the training of information consumers. The manner in which course materials are organized and presented can have a significant impact on the learning experience.
Incorporating adult learning theories in the training of information consumers enriches the students experience and creates lasting retention. Experts in the field of adult learning have collectively identified the following characteristics of adult learners:
In addition to incorporating the principles listed above, training courses for adults are most effective when objectives and goals are clearly stated. Additionally, course content should be structured into learning components that build on each other in a progressive manner. Each learning component should be a discrete topic or skill.
Information consumers choose to attend a business intelligence (BI) or data warehousing (DW) training course either because they were told to attend or because they want to achieve a higher status in their current job. Understanding their motivation is important in keeping them engaged and receptive to new information and skills. When developing and facilitating a BI/DW course, the instructor must keep in mind the following critical elements to ensure that students learn:
BI/DW courses are typically structured to either educate or train information consumers, or to do a combination of both.
When a BI/DW course is designed with a focus on educating, the objective is to provide information consumers with knowledge of the BI/DW environment, the processes for obtaining information, or the context of the information that is available. For example, the course on Data Warehousing and Information Access Strategies that is offered through http://www.dataWarehouse.com/c ertification is focused on providing individuals with an understanding of DW concepts, DW terminology and approaches to accessing information through the use of BI applications. The objective of the course is to provide students with the foundation necessary to understand typical DW components and architecture, the practical uses of DW and to create an awareness of different information access strategies. This type of course, focused on providing knowledge and information, is typically structured as follows:
The purpose of a training course is to improve students proficiency with BI software through the use of specialized instruction and hands-on practice. The most common example of this type of BI/DW course is the application training that most software vendors provide. These standard training courses demonstrate the features and functionality of the software application as well as provide students with step-by-step exercises that help them understand how to use it. Software training familiarizes students with the application, its capabilities, and how to use it. This type of course, focused on improving student proficiency with a specific application, is typically structured in the following manner:
We have found that information consumers have greater retention of course material if the BI/DW course is focused first on educating students and then on training them on how to use a specific application. Such a course would consist of the following components:
The objective of this type of course is to make the information consumer knowledgeable about the BI/DW environment, the information that is available and how to use the BI application in an effective manner. By covering these three topics, this type of course eliminates or reduces the transference gap i.e., how to practically apply the newly obtained information and skills.
In order to create lasting value from an investment in the training of information consumers, adult learning principles must be incorporated into the design and structure of training courses. The incorporation of adult learning principles will lead participants to be more engaged, have greater retention and be able to apply their new knowledge and skills to their role.
Bibliography and References for further reading:
Brookfield, S. D. 1986 Understanding and Facilitating Adult Learning, Buckingham; Open University Press
Knowles, M. 1973 The Adult Learner: A Neglected Species, Houston, TX; Gulf Publishing Company
Lieb, S. 2001 Principles of Adult Learning: Adults as Learners, http://www.hcc.hawaii.edu/intranet/committees/FacDevCom/guidebk/
Jonathan Wu is a senior principal with Knightsbridge Solutions. He has extensive experience designing, developing and implementing information solutions for reporting, analysis and decision-making purposes. Serving Fortune 500 organizations, Knightsbridge delivers actionable and measurable business results that inform decision making, optimize IT efficiency and improve business performance. Focusing exclusively on the information management disciplines of data warehousing, data integration, information quality and business intelligence, Knightsbridge delivers practical solutions that reduce time, reduce cost and reduce risk. Wu may be reached at email@example.com.
|E-Mail This Column|