If for no other reason than I feel like it (which actually is the only motivation behind my writing anything anyway), here are some Professional tips on learning how to use a new system/application:
Purpose - First understand that the system is supposed...and not supposed...to do. Know what you are dealing with so that you don't end up expecting it to do something that it was never designed to do. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to figure out how to do something on a system only to later discover that it doesn't actually do that thing anyway.
Terminology - Often overlooked but very important...get a list of system terms and definitions. Sometimes one system will use a common term to mean something very specific to that application, so make sure understand what the terms mean.
Get 'Hands-On' Instruction - Systems are tactile things...in other words to work with them you actually have to touch, manipulate, change them. It's my opinion that you really can't get an effective introduction to a system without actually using it.
(Depending on the above) Actually Be There - If you are receiving classroom training on a system, actually be there. What do I really mean? Well...
...turn the cell phone off
...don't sit by your best friend (or that man/woman you love to flirt with)
...be comfortable...if you need to use the bathroom, then use the bathroom
Ask Questions - If you are receiving classroom instruction then never be afraid the ask the instructor whatever questions come to mind. There really aren't any dumb questions; often times people will ask me questions where they really don't need to have me tell them the answer, but rather they need to ask the question out-loud in order to figure out the answer themselves...which is okay with me (hell I love it...that's one less question I have to answer!).
Help - Know where to get help once you leave the classroom.
Practice, Practice, Practice - The dirty secret about training in general is that you really don't retain an awful lot of what you are taught in a classroom. The real learning occurs when you take the bits and pieces of what you learned in a classroom and them try to apply them in your real-world situation. Ideally get some practice within 24 hours of the classroom training.
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