A good book. Traits of a good technology class part one

This is the first article in a multi-part series about the Traits of a good Technology class.

One of the questions I get asked all the time is What makes a good class? Is it the trainer? Is it the book? Is it the students?

We’ve all been to class. Some of you may remember looking at the clock in grammar school, counting down the minutes until the day was over. Others may have fond memories of listening to a Professor lecture to 1000 students in a gigantic college lecture hall. Still others are taught at home at the kitchen table, learning science through every day experiments.

What’s related? The objective of knowledge transfer. The idea of transferring knowledge from the teacher to the student. Some modes of learning are more effective for some students than others. Yet, there are still some standard commonalities.

As a facilitator, teacher, trainer, attendee of 100’s, if not 1000’s of classes. I have identified some common traits that all Good Technology Training classes have.  The first of the Traits is:  good books.

Image: 'Belinha has more than good looks'  www.flickr.com/photos/65768710@N00/2200198472

Image: 'Belinha has more than good looks' www.flickr.com/photos/65768710@N00/2200198472

Good Classes have Good books.

The book can be one of the most important factors in the class.  Although, I have seen some phenomenal instructors make up for poor courseware. If the book has errors, how do you as a student then trust the material being presented. How do you know what you are learning is factual and applicable to your business situation? You don’t. The Instructor may only know as much as the book. If that is true, then the class book is even more critical.

So, The first item on my Chief Learning Officer’s check list, is does the training we are taking provide a good book both for class exercises now and for knowledge recall later? Does the book have well-thought exercises for lab application and case studies? Does the book have tasks for both the inexperienced learner to follow, but also generic steps for the experienced student to reinforce his or her knowledge? Does the book provide a good reference point to look up key subjects when the time comes to recall information?

So a good class book is:

  • Factually correct.
  • Clear and Concise.
  • Full of real-world exercises, case studies, and next actions.
  • Targeted at multiple student levels.
  • Covers the target objectives.
  • Provides reference materials for future recall beyond class.
  • Is readable.

What do you think?  Do good classes require good books?