Post Syndicated from Michael Kammer original https://blog.zabbix.com/training-and-skills-development-the-zabbix-advantage/26873/
At Zabbix, we know that we’ve developed a competitive product. We know it’s very likely the best on the market. Millions of satisfied customers around the world download and use it every day. But that’s not where the story ends.
It’s critical to us that our customers know how to use our product to its full potential in order to get the most value out of it. That’s why we take ongoing training and skills development so seriously, and why we work hard to equip our users with knowledge that’s designed to increase their productivity and performance.
We’ve got years of experience seeing what works and doesn’t work when it comes to showing our users how to get the most out of Zabbix. We’ve learned how to make complicated concepts simple, how to adjust to a wide variety of cultures and learning styles, and how to build courses that create happier, more productive, and more satisfied users.
Let’s take a look at what we’ve identified as 5 of our best training and development practices, and how they help to make sure that the information we present in our training sessions sticks with our users and helps them get as much value from Zabbix as they possibly can.
Table of Contents
Perform an effective training and skills development needs analysis
Quality training and skills development begins with a needs analysis. This is a process that organizations use to determine the gap between the current and desired knowledge, skills, and abilities of end users. It typically involves determining the root cause for a training request, identifying the needed outcomes, and uncovering the best learning approach.
An effective needs analysis addresses questions like these:
- Which of our users need training the most?
- What kind of training do they require?
- How can we best design an effective training program for them?
- What will be the impact of training on their experience with Zabbix?
- What level of investment and resources will be required to implement an effective training program for them?
At Zabbix, we ask ourselves these questions and many others before creating new training courses or modifying existing ones. We take into account our users’ backgrounds, including their education and work experience. We are always trying to speak to their experiences and offer content in a language that’s easy for them to understand. Our ultimate goal is to make our training sessions feel relevant to everyone, no matter their level of Zabbix experience.
Once we know who we’re speaking to, we can identify the areas where users may be struggling. We focus on what our users are motivated by and what tasks they seem to stumble over the most, and we know that showing users how our training can positively impact their careers will go a long way toward creating a receptive audience for the information we’re presenting.
Build targeted and customized courses
There’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all when it comes to training and skills development. As the world and technology change, knowing which training methods to implement can be a challenge. Businesses, educators, and learners all have unique learning approaches, and tailoring a custom training program creates balance for effective learning experiences.
The Zabbix method is to create a different course for every skill level and potential user of our services, creating an official Zabbix certified training path that guides our users toward the goal of becoming a Zabbix certified expert.
We start by making sure we’ve clearly identified our target audience, so that we can create content that’s relevant and engaging. For example, in our Zabbix Certified Expert and Zabbix Certified Professional courses, we know that users already have a baseline of knowledge, so we don’t need to provide a lot of background or general information. Understanding our audience helps us keep the content concise and to the point.
From there, we focus on structuring our content. For us, this means keeping training and development focused on a single skill level and keeping content short and to the point. Once we have our “big picture” outline, we work with our trainers to plan out the format, key takeaways, and activities.
That brings us to our final point –providing a truly hands-on experience. We know that it’s critical for learners to be able to quickly apply what they’ve been taught, so we include at least one activity per section of a course, allowing learners to put their new skills to the test by performing practical tasks and solving real-life use cases. This approach is borne out by the fact that our labs are consistently rated by students as among their favorite aspects of the training experience.
Provide quality, professional materials
Experience shows that it’s vitally important to focus on providing training materials that are:
- Professional in appearance AND user-friendly
- Available before, during, and after class to reinforce the learning process
- Aligned with the course objectives
- Easy to access (including print or online options)
Every student who attends a Zabbix course gets the course presentation as well as the lab manual containing the practical tasks and their solutions. When it comes to the presentation, we go to great lengths to make sure we know our learners and write for them, using accessible, approachable language and keeping things simple and to the point at all times.
Have qualified and experienced instructors
Most people don’t recall a lot of details from specific lectures they attended in high school, but it’s very likely that they remember the name of their favorite teacher. Instructors have a massive impact on how adults learn as well.
Effective trainers continuously practice and develop qualities that improve their understanding of what learners and organizations need. They understand that the more they exercise these qualities, the better equipped they’ll be to deliver engaging trainings that create an active learning atmosphere and incorporate current learning trends.
Every Zabbix Certified trainer works with the tool on a daily basis, so they’ve got plenty of hands-on use cases, hacks, workarounds, and shortcuts to share. They understand that a quality training session is a continuous feedback loop between learners and an instructor, so they listen actively and encourage engagement through the use of activities and Q&A sessions throughout our courses.
In addition to their demonstrated knowledge of all things Zabbix, our trainers also bring to the table strong interpersonal skills and a passion for what they do. That’s why nearly all the feedback we receive highlights the expertise and professionalism of our trainers as a high point of the training experience.
Assess training and skills development effectiveness
Training effectiveness measures the impact of training on a learner’s knowledge, skills, and performance. It needs to measure not only what employees learn but how they apply it in their jobs. It should also determine whether the training truly benefits users, while uncovering any issues in the training process that need to be improved.
Zabbix takes a two-track approach to measuring the effectiveness of training and skills development. We incorporate assessments into all our training courses and ask for feedback post-session to help us understand what each user learned, but we also depend on a system of certifications that are backed up by exams.
A Zabbix certification is our guarantee that a certificate holder has mastered the theoretical and practical skills covered during a course. Participants must score 80% or higher to pass any exam, which is why they stand as concrete proof that a certificate holder has the required knowledge to understand the concepts presented in a training session and implement them in real Zabbix environments.
Zabbix has a wide variety of users, so we need to offer a wide variety of courses to meet their needs. Our training programs are intended for IT administrators, auditors, system integrators, and anyone else who deals with IT infrastructure monitoring.
We’re proud of the fact that even veteran administrators with several years of Zabbix experience come away from our trainings armed with inside knowledge of new features and best practices.
To find out more about our comprehensive suite of trainings and find the one that’s right for you or your organization, visit zabbix.com/training.
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