Questions to Ask Before Agreeing to Do a Training

Discussion created by cfitzpatrick-esristaff Employee on Mar 24, 2016
Latest reply on Jan 23, 2018 by giovannij

Many folks have asked for guidance about doing intro/training events about GIS for teachers or students. Many of us have done a number of these in different settings over the years. A really important rule of thumb is to get a number of key questions answered before starting to make plans. In other words, know what's expected. Here's the set of questions I encourage folks to get answers to, and the things I seek before I commit.


1. What are the requestor's goals?

a. Audience will see ...?

b. Audience will know ...?

c. Audience will do ...?

d. Audience will be able to do afterward on their own ...?

e. Presenter/s will include these content items ...?


2. What is the audience like?

a. numbers?

b. ages?

c. educational background?

d. computer/device comfort?

e. subject matter comfort?

f. special cultural expectations for such events? (e.g. "There MUST be food every hour," or "absolutely no food or drink in the room," or "No handouts, only digital docs," etc)


3. What is the event facility like?

a. which room? what room design? where is electricity available?

b. tables? chairs? desks? other?

c. hardware & specs? (computers? laptops? tablets? smartphones? GPSs? BYODs? touchscreens?

d. software?

e. internet?

f. projector? screen?

g. restrooms? parking? opportunity to be outdoors?


4. What time is available?

a. preparation?

b. setup?

c. actual event?

d. regulated breaks?

e. will there be anyone helping? what ratio of audience to capable helpers? (10:1 is about the max for intro)

f. will there be any special follow-up?


Getting answers to these questions won't always mean that what you understood would be the case is what actually happens. Many of us "in the business" have arrived and discovered the actual circumstances to be very different from what was described and expected ... room, hardware, internet, audience, numbers, time, opportunity to display, even electricity. We all have horror stories. We talk with each other in shorthand: "It was a 'Deal with it' moment." The more you know for absolute sure beforehand, the better; the less you know for certain, the more likely you need to be ready to adapt. Think Macgyver. Be prepared to adapt the focus of activities, style of activity, the room, technology, time, etc. Think backwards: "When will this be over, and what do I absolutely need to accomplish before then, and what's an effective way to accomplish that under the circumstances?"


I look forward to reading comments, ideas, and questions!