Calgary Computer Skills: Computer Training Made Simple



Not all computer training is in a classroom Many people are afraid of their computers, paranoid in fact, that if they push the wrong key the whole computer will explode on them, or destroy the company's entire computer network. Most of this fear is unjustifiable, and is based on lack of knowledge and understanding.

A Quick Background
There are still people who have never used a computer, thinking, "I am so far behind, I don't have a hope of ever catching up." Fortunately, technology has made the software and computers easier to use, and made possible learning new technologies that allow you to learn as you go.

In the "Early Days" of computers, cryptic commands (like CHKDSK or RMDIR) had to memorized and typed to instruct the computer to perform an action. While some programs used keyboard shortcuts (like the F3 key), users still had to remember the key assignments.

With the Apple Macintosh and Microsoft Windows operating systems, computers provided a "graphical user interface" and showed menus of commands that are accessed by clicking a mouse, reducing guesswork and memorization. Programs also had built-in tutorials or assistants to help with learning complex tasks. As computers gained processing power, multimedia capabilities for playing sound, video and animations evolved.

All these developments mean it's far easier to catch up. Those who have been long-time computer users need to upgrade their hardware and software, so they also need to catch up!

Choosing a Trainer
For teaching, nothing beats a live human being. They can answer virtually any question, in any order and in different contexts. An instructor can teach basic skills and principles, building both skills and confidence, enabling you become self-sufficient.

Good computer courses also have good course materials. Good training manuals not only provide step-by-step instructions (plus the in-class exercises), but cover basic principles and provide tips for "real world" problems and more advanced users.

Computer courses are offered by national chains,local firms, and specialized one-person consulting firms. Select a trainer that meets your needs. Larger companies may put more value on the ability to support multiple locations and provide consistent training to large numbers of students with varied skill levels. Smaller companies may place higher value on responsiveness to needs, flexible scheduling and support. Of course, the ability to train you in the software and operating system you use, is the most important.

When checking out a training organization, ask about specific course topics, and which are covered in intermediate or advanced levels. Various organizations organize their levels differently. Take a quick look at the training materials, to see if they make a suitable after-class reference (or else you can just use 500 page software manual). You should also ask about the specific instructor for a class, and their experience, particularly for the advanced classes where real world experience is helpful.

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