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What do selling on ebay, quilting, and skateboarding have in common? They're all high-interest themes that will get your community excited about the library's computer training classes. Instead of teaching "click here" and "click there," why not use a theme-based approach to help users acquire computer skills effortlessly while they learn about their favorite topics?

This course is suitable for both designated and occasional trainers.

  • Are you called upon to offer computer training to the public even though you have no teaching experience?
  • Do you stare blankly at the screen when you attempt to develop a lesson—even when it's about a topic or skill you know well?
  • Have you struggled to figure out how to make training more interactive?
  • Could you use help getting students to follow along in your demonstrations?

Computer training has become a core library service. So why not make it fun for users - and for staff! Infopeople's lead trainer will share her secrets for creating theme-based lessons that will make your classes exciting, effective, and memorable.

Workshop Description: By the end of this all-day, hands-on workshop, each student will have created a customized lesson plan for a public computer class on a theme of their choosing. There will be templates for handouts, evaluation forms, bookmark files, and lesson plans in both paper and digital format. Students will participate in individual as well as small group exercises and large group discussions. In addition to creating a lesson plan, we will share important class management skills and techniques for teaching people on computers. The instructor will provide practical, useful tips that can be applied immediately. Students will be encouraged to share their completed lesson plans with each other, giving you access to as many as 20 different completed lesson plans.

(Optional) Pre-workshop assignment: : Ideally, each student will come to this course with an idea for a theme for a public computer class. It can be anything from pizza making to collecting antique glass, to learning about healthy bugs in the garden. If you are already offering public classes, please bring examples of the handouts you use.

Preliminary Course Outline

  • Objectives For Teaching Public Computer Classes
    • Why use theme-based training
    • Training staff versus training the public
    • Which computer and Internet competencies to teach
    • How to teach them
  • Create Theme-Based Training
    • Creating clear objectives for your classes
    • Using templates
    • Creating handouts and bookmark files
    • Important formatting tricks and shortcuts in MS Word
    • Including other library resources in your training
  • Crucial Skills For Teaching People to Use Computers
    • Vocabulary
    • Narrating while demonstrating
    • How and when to use exercises
    • Teach one way or three
    • Handling a variety of learners
  • Planning Training
    • Checklist for planning training
    • Day-of-training suggestions
    • Promoting your public classes

Workshop Instructor: Cheryl Gould