Transitioning to a new news production system can be a daunting task for any newsroom team. To ensure a smooth shift, training both administrators and end users is essential. Octopus Newsroom offers both on-site and remote training, designed to maximize the effective use of their system. We spoke with Eva Planickova, a senior trainer at Octopus, to learn about her systematic approach to training and how it ensures customer satisfaction.  

User Needs Analysis: Understanding the Audience

Eva brings her journalistic background to the forefront, emphasizing the importance of understanding the unique needs of the end users. “Knowing what your users need is crucial,” she says. “This allows us to tailor the training specifically to their requirements.” By conducting a thorough needs analysis, Eva ensures that the training addresses the specific challenges and workflows users will encounter in their day-to-day work.

Planning: Tailoring Training to Fit

The planning phase begins during the initial project discussions with customers. Decisions about the date and type of training—whether on-site or remote —are made at this stage. “While some of the initial discussions and workflow fine-tuning can happen online, end-user training is always better face-to-face with a personal touch,” Eva explains. “We’ve found success with a ‘train the trainers’ approach, where we spend more time with a smaller group, who can then share the knowledge.”

Best Practices for Effective Training

Eva provides several recommendations for effective training:

  • Train small groups (no more than 8-10 participants) to allow for interactive, hands-on learning.
  • Limit sessions to a reasonable length to maintain focus and retention.
  • Ensure each participant has their computer and access to the Octopus system.
  • Use a big screen if participants are in the same room, to facilitate group learning.
  • Encourage trainees to actively engage and practice tasks on their own for better understanding and retention.
  • Schedule training sessions close to an on-air date to ensure knowledge remains fresh and easily applicable.
  • Language considerations are also important.

“Training is typically conducted in English, but the Octopus team can accommodate other languages as required. If translation services are necessary, it adds complexity. Therefore, in such instances, we suggest training a select group of key users who can then share their knowledge.”

Documentation: Providing Ongoing Resources

To complement the training sessions, Octopus provides comprehensive user materials. These resources are invaluable for users to refer to after the training. These materials include step-by-step guides, troubleshooting tips, and best practices.

Interactive Sessions: Hands-On Learning

Eva’s training sessions are highly interactive, allowing users to practice using the news software in a controlled environment. “We use practical examples and real-world scenarios to show how the news management system addresses journalists’ daily tasks,” she says. This hands-on approach ensures that users can immediately apply what they’ve learned.

Continuous Support: Always There to Help

Customers who opt for support have access to a 24/7 support hotline. Additionally, users can contact the support team via email for less urgent queries.

Refresher Training: Keeping Skills Sharp

Periodic refresher training sessions can be scheduled in case new features are implemented, or address changes in the workflows of the news team. “This ensures that users remain proficient and up to date with the latest developments, allowing journalists the opportunity to utilize the system to its fullest potential,” Eva points out.

Regular Updates: Keeping Pace with Change

The Octopus system is continually evolving to enhance news production efficiency. “We provide supplementary materials for any new features or changes, and we also keep users informed through our e-learning platform,” says Eva.

The success of any training program hinges on how well it is tailored to the users’ specific needs. By maintaining regular communication, offering ongoing support, and adopting a user-centric approach, Eva and her team at Octopus ensure a positive training experience and increased proficiency.

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