Step 1: Gear Up for Your Training
At Illuminate we recognize that sometimes a district's budget and/or schedule does not allow for one of our representatives to visit sites to train your staff ourselves. Thus this "Trainer Toolkit" Chapter (and the lessons contained within) will walk you through the process of conducting a training session yourself. This lesson addresses the first of five steps.
Even though Illuminate's intuitive interface makes the learning process as easy as possible, many staff members will need at least some training to:
1. understand all of the system's capabilities (to increase the likelihood that they will use all of these capabilities),
2. lower the intimidation and anxiety staff experience when encountering a new system, particularly when it involves technology (to increase the likelihood that they will use the system and that they will use it correctly), and
3. keep staff's experiences positive, save staff time in the long run, and more quickly ensure the success of the tool's implementation.
Not an Isolated Event
As you plan your training, keep in mind that it should not be mistaken for (or presented as) an isolated event. To maximize the many benefits of Illuminate, its use should ultimately be integrated into every instructional endeavor at your school(s).
Whether you are encouraging the use of differentiated instruction, moving forward with Response to Intervention (RTI), implementing interim assessments, responding to all the scientifically based research concerning regular formative feedback, or just plain wanting to improve your impact on kids, Illuminate can be a crucial component every step of the way to make the process more efficient and more effective. For this reason, involve other stakeholders in the training process so that the site's other endeavors (and the manner in which they relate) can be referred to before, during, and after your training.
One Size Doesn't Fit All
Any introductory training will likely benefit all staff members (those who are more technologically advanced can help those who aren't during the training, just as some students are able to help others in the classroom). However, when planning subsequent trainings, keep in mind that (like students in a classroom best served by differentiation) your staff will have differing needs.
Explore flexible options for your training, such as:
- focusing on particular staff members
- offering different training topics at different times for different groups
- mixing up the format (e.g., a small group question and answer session for staff "power users," or one-on-one instruction for a low-tech veteran)
When your training matches each participant's needs, your staff will thank you. Well, maybe they won't all go so far as to verbalize it, but you'll have a better chance at moving them forward in their understanding and use of the Illuminate system, and thus you'll have a better chance at ultimately helping students.
Administering a "needs assessment" can help you understand staff needs. There are free ways to survey your entire district or site electronically (e.g., Survey Monkey, Google Forms, etc.), and these free surveying options will require minimal time compared to hard-copy or email approaches. Here is a sample needs assessment you might administer (personalize underlined text):
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 0-1 based on your proficiency in that particular task. 0 = I am not able to do this (have not been trained and have not done it) or I do not understand to what the task is referring, 1 = I was trained on how to do this and/or did this with assistance, 2 = I did this on my own (outside of a training).
- Log in to the system.
- Change my password.
- Use the Help system.
- Navigate in the system (e.g., open and move from one menue/link/page to the next).
- Search for and find a single student's record (e.g., Student Profile Report).
- Generate a pre-built report.
- Create a simple custom report (e.g., add columns of data, give the report a title).
- Use more complex custom report features (e.g., filter data, group, change the way data displays).
- Find and open an assessment.
- Print pre-slugged (e.g., featuring student names and ID numbers) student answer sheets.
- Scan student answer sheets for an assessment.
- View assessment reports to see how my students performed.
- Create an assessment in the system.
- Share (with my colleagues) an assessment I created.
- Duplicate and edit an existing assessment.
- Use options from the assessment advanced tab (e.g., add question groups, change performance bands, edit my sheet design).
- Add, share, or use student groups.
- Use system administrator options (e.g., edit permissions, become another user).
Reflection Is Your Training's Best Friend
Now you are ready to read the "Step 2: Plan Your Training" lesson.