Dynamics GP Training–Why it really is THAT important–Part II (How to Learn to Use Microsoft Dynamics GP)

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As we discussed in Part I of this entry, end user training is critical to your GP Implementation’s success.  But in the face of ever-growing training options, how do you choose the right one?  Below are some ways you can learn how to use Dynamics GP and my thoughts on their relative pros and cons:

  • Old fashioned “crack open the book” approach.  As a means to minimize costs many companies resort to this.  Once you have purchased Dynamics GP, you have two types of electronic manuals you can refer to in order to learn the system.  There are Dynamics GP user guides, which are really more of a reference manual than a training guide.  Then there is also the Microsoft Official Curriculum (MOC) which is the actual training guides used in instructor-led classroom training.  These are available to all Dynamics GP customers via Microsoft website CustomerSource, (assuming you are current on your software maintenance).  The crack-the-book approach might get you by in a pinch, but is inherently inefficient: the amount learned will be limited, and the overall process can be frustrating for the user.
  • E-Learning – E-Learning is any type of training delivered remotely via the web.  In recent years, the amount of these classes has grown and the quality of their content has improved.  There are actually two types of E-Learning:
    • On demand E-Learning courses do not have a “live” trainer involved.  These courses are either prerecorded courses that include an audio portion (many of you have attended similar prerecorded webinars), or they have no audio portion, but instead include key points, summaries and even questions to test your knowledge are delivered via screen interaction.  Many of these type of courses are available as part of your software maintenance benefits.
    • Live classes delivered in a remote access format.   These classes are delivered at a predetermined time and have an instructor delivering the content live.  These have additional value as there can be some interaction with the instructor for specific questions or unique scenarios that require further discussion.  There is a trend in the industry (including from Microsoft) to deliver a lot of training in this manner due to the cost savings and other benefits.  But I personally feel that these can only be effective for short training sessions.  I believe that delivering a full day (or even multiple days) of training remotely just doesn’t deliver enough benefits.

E-Learning can be an option if flexibility in scheduling is needed, the training budget is limited, and getting people out of the office is difficult.  But the reduced or limited interaction between instructor and student limits the overall benefit.  And students are well-aware of this limitation.  We hear all the time that they’d never get anything done (training) unless they get out of their offices, away from distractions and frequent interruptions.

  • Classroom trainingClassroom training is available for many Dynamics GP modules.  These are delivered by Microsoft Partners who are Certified Partners in Learning Solutions.  This certification requires that any instructor typically be an MCT (Microsoft Certified Trainer) in the subject matter.  Although classroom training is typically the most expensive option, it also usually has the most value.  End users can get away from their work environment and focus completely on learning.  And they can interact with the instructor to get deeper understanding and discuss in detail specific applications and needs that apply to them.  But it even has a greater value that often goes unnoticed.  The interaction with other students can lead to additional insight, discovery of product use that can be applied in their own organization, and the development of a network of other users that can be tapped into for the future.  It is hard to quantify the true ROI of classroom training, but there are certainly hidden advantages.

As a CPLS, we are very aware of the importance of training.  Each of these methods can be appropriate in certain situations.  However, we feel strongly that the more you invest in training your users, the more you will get back in ongoing benefits.  Now if we could just open that new training center in Hawaii…..

Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have: Rick Feterick, Crestwood Associates LLC 847-394-8820 x48 or [email protected].

Submitted by Crestwood Associates LLC –Microsoft Dynamics GP Partner in Indiana.

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