So you have swallowed your pride, acknowledged that you need help in a particular area and booked a place on a computer training course for a specific product or software program.

A good training course is worth its weight in gold. Information technology is such an all- consuming part of the modern world that the difference between understanding, say, Microsoft Access and not could be massive for your career prospects. Much like learning to ride a bicycle, the information that you absorb at the training stage remains with you and has multiple and far reaching benefits not just for your professional life but for your personal life as well.

But for every great training course out there there are a dozen bad ones. And a poor experience at the training stage can increase the sense of alienation and frustration that you feel from not understanding a particular aspect of computing. You may feel like everybody else in the room gets it and you don’t (although this is unlikely to be the case) or it may overcomplicate the original problem still further through ambiguity and lack of clarity. Boring and lacklustre courses can have the effect of just making you no longer care altogether whilst trainers that take every point at a gallop (and never ask for feedback or questions) can just make your head spin.

There are a number of things that training courses get wrong and it is important to be able to recognise them before it is too late.

A common problem is a simple lack of interest and connection to the students. A lot of training courses utilise out-dated graphics and presentation styles that make the student question the competence of the trainers. If the trainer is illustrating a particular point with some especially tacky 80s clipart why should you trust that they know anything about the cutting edge of IT?

Communication is vital if you are to get the most out of the experience; remember that the trainers are supposed to be there for you. A trainer that does not bother to ascertain what each student wants to get out of the course will have an inflexible, pre-designed conception of events that may bear very little relation to your needs or requirements. Similarly if the trainer doesn’t bother with (or even worse actively discourages) questions from their students the course can quickly disappear down a track that is of no use to anybody.

Beware of the word ‘interactivity.’ True interactivity on a computing course is wonderful, immersing you in the learning process and bolstering your confidence in achieving practical results. But all too often courses claim to be interactive when in reality they offer only sops to the idea, such as the odd multiple choice question or mindless mouse click.

As stated above a good training course is massively beneficial and this article is in no way intended to put you off of enrolling on a training course. If you do your homework and properly research the level of quality of a given course then you can reap extraordinary benefits in the workplace. Ask the provider questions, so you are confident that they teach in a positive, professional and effective way. Ask for references or testimonials, so you can find out about other delegates experiences - so that you can be confident that the course you attend lets you focus on your learning and build your skills.