In the second of two blogs on technology training for law firms, Virginio Basile, Tikit’s Vice President, Professional Services, North America, looks at how properly planned training delivers the maximum benefit for firms.
As I said in the first blog, Tikit is currently developing a course for an LTC41 approved certification in timekeeping. To reiterate, LTC4 is a firm-led not-for-profit organization formed to raise the level of competence of attorneys and law-firm staff who use legal technology.
This work is making me think about Tikit’s approach to training and the things that we’ve learned are effective. In the preceding blog I talked about what should be done to prepare the way for successful training. Now it’s time to plan and deliver it.
Plan what to train and how
So once you’ve identified where the technology can have the greatest impact for the firm, then you can start to write a training plan that reflects the things you want to change.
This will be a very tailored plan. For instance, having looked at the firm’s policies and cultures in respect of timekeeping – what needs to be done to encourage and embed more effective behaviours? It’s also possible to generate individual or group learning plans.
Naturally plans will look at content: what exactly is it that people need to learn? Once upon a time IT training consisted of endless instructions on how each application should be used: field by field, menu by menu. As though everyone needed to know absolutely everything. Nowadays, training content is much more about what do you need to know to be effective in your job?
As well, a significant component of training planning is around determining what delivery models are going to work best for the firm and its people and how participation can be maximized.
There’s a wide range of delivery formats to choose from. Will breakfast or lunchtime sessions work? Should delivery including WebEx’s, webinars, walk-arounds, self-guided, one to one, or peer to peer sessions? Where should people be trained? Do we expect them to come to us or ought we to be going to them? How much documentation is wanted or needed? What is the optimum duration of each session? What mechanisms need to be put
in place to provide additional support? How do we engage the biggest number of users most effectively?
A menu of different approaches should be drawn up so that each individual can tap into the type of training delivery that will work best for them. At Tikit we call this the training self-serve buffet. It’s all about finding the most effective ways to engage by exploiting people’s different learning preferences and schedules.
Evaluation and certification
Once training has been delivered it’s then important to assess its impact. Data will tell you a lot, of course. Firms need to keep in mind what they were aiming for and evaluate how successful the training has been in delivering their original objectives. It’s also worth conducting a walk-around review after three months to understand the longer term impact of the program.
In the context of LTC4, meanwhile, Tikit will be developing a formal evaluation process so that individuals can demonstrate what they’ve learned and get a certification at the end of their course.
Done well, training is a powerful catalyst for improvement. When technology training works, it increases productivity and improves client service. It makes firms more competitive. Above all it increases the amount of billed time and has a direct impact on the bottom line. The LTC4 initiative is going to be very important in this respect.
So Tikit is now working to make sure that, drawing on all we’ve learned, our LTC4 training provides a really robust and effective route to a valuable certification.
By Virginio Basile, Vice President, Professional Services.
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