Whether it’s been 30 years or 30 days since you last entered a classroom, there are a few things you can do to ensure your next course for certification prep or refining your IT skills is a training success. These might seem like obvious suggestions, but there’s a lot to be said for keeping it simple these days, especially when time is of the essence for training.
Know Your Learning Style
Generally speaking, there are four main learning styles: visual, auditory, reading/writing, and kinesthetic. Before you begin any training, take a moment to consider how you learn best so you can maximize your time in class. Most people are a combination of one or more learning styles, but knowing the key traits of each style and how you best retain and synthesize information will help you get the most out of each course.
Do you retain information by looking at charts or graphs that summarize information? If so, you’re a visual learner.
TIP: Don’t be afraid to doodle! If you aren’t getting the information you need in visual form, create your own visuals in the form of doodles or drawings.
Do you have the ability to recall a conversation with someone in minute detail or need to hear something in order to understand it? If so, you’re an auditory learner.
TIP: Auditory learners can sometimes find note taking too distracting, so don’t bend to the peer pressure of note taking if it doesn’t benefit you.
Do PowerPoint presentations, handouts, or written explanations help you retain information? If so, you’re a reading/writing learner.
TIP: Take lots of notes! Reading- and writing-oriented learners retain information the best through extensive note taking regardless of whether on a laptop or paper.
Do you need to get your hands dirty to learn a new skill? If so, you’re a kinesthetic learner.
TIP: Look for courses that offer hands-on labs and activities or ask your instructor for options to try out new skills in real time. The more time you can actively use skills as you learn them, the more likely you are to retain them.
Play to Your Strengths for Training Success
Along with knowing your learning style, having a handle on your classroom environment can go a long way toward setting yourself up for success. Be honest with yourself about whether your preferred training medium is right for how and when you learn. Don’t try to force a square peg through a round hole.
If you suffer from time management issues, perhaps a self-paced course isn’t the best option as opposed to virtual one that’s offered in real time. If you tend to learn best in a regular classroom setting but only virtual courses are offered, try to get into the mindset of a classroom by treating your home office like a classroom that’s free of distractions or interruptions.
Check Your Ego at the Door
Do a personal inventory before your first day. Are you feeling like maybe you have a chip on your shoulder? Sure, you might have a little background in the subject, but you’re here to learn more. No matter how sharp you think your skills are, there’s always something new you can pick up. Going in with a positive attitude makes it easier to succeed and walk away with a positive experience.
Alternatively, are you worried you might not be ready for the next step in your training journey? Don’t sell yourself short! Remember that we were all beginners at one point. You might know more than you think, and your instructors are determined to have you leave your training with more knowledge than you possessed on Day 1. As long as you aren’t enrolled in an advanced course before an introductory one, you’re probably going to thrive.
Ask. For. Help.
Your instructors are here because they want you to succeed and are passionate about the subject matter. They’ve been working in their respective fields for years and have earned the title of Subject Matter Expert for a reason. They’re the best of the best, and they once took training courses, too. Want more information about the nuances of a topic? They can suggest additional training or resources to continue your path to mastery.
Your instructors are there not only to deliver content but to troubleshoot as well. They’ve been in your shoes and can walk you through the complexities of whatever is tripping you up. The key, of course, is that you have to ask the question in order to get the answer. There isn’t much sense in signing up for a course if you can’t get anything out of it, right? Make the most of their time because it isn’t every day that you get to pick the brain of an expert.
Ready to put these suggestions to the test? Sign up for a course today. For more information on IT training, visit the Skyline ATS Course Catalog.