Basic planning is essential for a successful training. The training tips in this chapter will apply to any module and any product.
Determine the group to be trained. For the most optimal experience do not mix groups that perform different functions together. For example, if elementary and secondary teachers have different grade scales and gradebook setup rules provide a training for each group individually.
Determine the size of the group. Illuminate trainers recommend no more than 25-30 participants for each hands on training.
Verify the available technology is able to support the training. Since Illuminate is a web-based application we recommend a 1:1 ratio for participant to computer for every training. Also verify if IT support will be available for any network issues.
Have a password plan. Determine who at your district is the Illuminate system administrator and determine what the user name and password format is. At this time also determine if passwords need to be reset and who at the district participants should contact if they have a login issue during the training.
Training formats can look very different depending upon district size, staff, and agenda. Additionally the training you are planning now might be one of many. Consider a few possible formats when setting up training.
- Large group (e.g., all staff introduction to product)
- Focus on particular staff members one period at a time using roving subs
- Offer different training topics at different times for different groups (before school, after school, etc.)
- Play a video
- Optional "lunchtime Q and A" with a "power user"
- Small group question and answer session specifically for staff "power users"
- One-on-one instruction for a low-tech staff
- Staff meeting focus training (e.g., "How to Create an Assessment" or "How to Build a Custom Report") with power users (approached ahead of time) circulating to help others as needed.
- Staff meeting "share out" where those who have been using the system can share things they are doing with it, how this is helping them (efficiency, time saving, collaboration, etc.)
- Incorporate Professional Learning Community (PLC), grade level, or department meeting discussion (e.g., after teachers have administered common assessment, train them on available reports while accessing and analyzing the new data).
There are other possibilities, as well. Think outside the box and consider all options before choosing the best format and time slot for your training.
Determine goals and objectives for the actual training.
Identify follow-up expectations and how staff will be held accountable for their learning.
Involve site level leaders on the goals and objectives so that they can reinforce expectations with their staff after the training.
Review the materials available in Illuminate. Determine which resources; videos, PPT, agendas, quizes, interactive guides etc. exist for the module that you need to train.
Work through all of the available resources for the area that you plan to train and look at it through the lens of the anticipated audience.
Login to Illuminate as a user with the role that you intend to train. Click through every screen that your training participants will access. Make sure that everything is working as expected and that they have the necessary permissions.
Make note of any district procedures and practices that relate to the area that you plan to train. Document these procedures and practices and create a way to share this information with participants during training.
Setup structures to keep the session on track. Consider using a traditional paper / pencil "Parking Lot" or a digital "Parking Lot" with a program such as Padlet. See sample Padlet Parking Log.
Illuminate has a feature called the Bulletin Banner Blast. This feature is a great way to provide links to staff about training date and time reminders, resources, and post training surveys. This is a permission based feature.
ISI clients should use the Sandbox site for all trainings that practice data entry. Sandboxes can be refreshed to mirror live data. To ensure that the Sandbox site is up to date let your district system administrator know when you plan to train and will therefore need the sandbox site refreshed. If you are an ISI client and do not know how to access your site Sandbox, contact your district system administrator for details.
Determine if you will use any checks for understanding, quizes, exit tickets, etc. and if so create them. See sample.
If you are training long term users and the available Illuminate resources do not meet your needs, you will likely need to create a custom training event, consider surveying the staff for planning purposes.
Sample survey instructions:
To help us plan training for our Illuminate system, we'd like to better understand what you're already able to accomplish using the system. Please rate each of the following tasks with a 0-2 based on your proficiency in that particular task. 0 = I am not able to do this, 1 = I was trained on how to do this and/or did this with assistance, 2 = I have done this on my own (outside of a training).
Give staff plenty of notice about trainings.
Determine what the best communication channels are in your district to get the message out. If none exist, consider creating a webpage dedicated to training events and resources.
Send out a reminder the day before the training (reference the original notice so staff does not mistake this as the first notice).
Identify training specifics (start time, end time, date and day of week, place, anything they should bring, topic, purpose, how this fits in with site/district vision and other projects).
If a question that you don't know the answer to during training comes up (and it will) let participants know that you need to investigate further before giving an answer. Then make sure to find out and get back to the person(s) that asked the question. Participants are always more appreciative of correct answers even if it takes time to get them.
Throughout the training clearly identify when users are watching/listening to the trainer vs. trying and practicing on their own or with a small group. Be sure to give plenty of opportunities for participants to actually practice the tasks being presented. If sample scenarios or practice examples are provided in Illuminate sample agendas use them or create your own applicable scenarios.
Make the training practical. When possible have participants bring in actual work samples, assessments, forms, etc. and provide practice time during the session.
Make sure participants know who to contact for help after the training.
Consider setting up a tiered level of support that is communicated to all staff. For example:
- Tier 1 - Look it up in the Illuminate Help Center
- Tier 2 - Ask site level expert
- Tier 3 - Email or call district Help desk
- Tier 4 - District Help desk calls Illuminate
Survey participants about the training experience. Read the feedback and adjust accordingly at your next training.
Participants will experience the most success if they apply their learning immediately after training. To support them, give practical homework or actionable next steps with a clear due date.
Provide supporting documentation, timelines, resources, etc. as needed to all staff members. See sample data communication sheet.