The hands-off approach to software training


(This article first appeared in the Cambridge Evening News)

A typical computer training session is set in an atmosphere reminiscent of our school days.

Unfortunately this doesn't take into account the huge range of learning styles and skill levels.

We all learn in different ways, which means that many of us don't get the most out of traditional classroom training. Some of us will find it hard to keep to the pace and structure whilst others will want to experiment on their own, and not have to worry about slower learners catching up.

In 1983 the renowned Professor and Psychologist Howard Gardner identified 8 different ways of learning - linguistic (learns best by saying, hearing and seeing words), logical-mathematical (categorizing, and working with abstract patterns), bodily-kinesthetic (learning by doing), spatial (visualizing, working with colours/pictures), musical (rhythm, melody), interpersonal (sharing, cooperating), intrapersonal (self paced), and naturalist (learning in a natural setting).

There are many ways by which we know, understand and learn. During my seminars I often find that a predominantly 'interpersonal learner' learns best working on their own projects while 'interpersonal learners' get more out of sharing and comparing.

For instance the testimonial 'The idea of group discussion and collective input was very helpful.' is a good example of feedback from one of my course participants who tapped into her highly developed interpersonal intelligence to help her learning.

I first came across this method of Hands Off Training in the States and was impressed with how it addresses different types of learning. We have nothing like it here in the UK for software training and I knew it could really help participants understand how to use Microsoft Office products in a day to day context. After training in the method in Kansas I brought it over to the UK and already I am finding my seminars are more lively, with people feeling able to ask questions about anything from how they can use Excel to analyse their data to how they can use Word to help with their Christmas Card list.

Hands Off training reflects human nature. Most of us can only digest 20 minutes at a time so sessions are short and focused with time in between for quizzes, and exploration and reflection to absorb and understand. Concentration, confidence and enjoyment are dramatically increased and it's a more fulfilling experience all-round.

* For details on up and coming Hands-Off seminars contact Karen on 01223 214177 or visit her website at

To read more information, click here.

Karen Roem
Microsoft Office-ionado

Roem Ltd – software training and support