Friday, December 21, 2018

Thoughts about how a newbie learns

It has been nearly two weeks that my students and I have been training the new employee. It has been a challenge for all of us.

I am still trying to figure out how this new employee learns. It's difficult to narrow down, but here are my notes:

  • She is an extremely slow learner. She requires tons of repetition doing the same task before she begins to understand it.
  • She is not good at recognizing patterns. If there is a clear example on the page, she does not know how to apply that example to solve her current problem.
  • She does not read well. It doesn't matter whether she has a checklist or a procedure on how to do a task, she does not read details carefully. She also does not read e-mails well.
  • Her comprehension is dismal. She constantly relies on my PowerPoint slides and treats them as the gospel. When she has a checklist to go through, she is still dependent on her slides and doesn't realize that the checklist takes precedence. When I quiz her on how to do something, she goes to her printed slide notes and doesn't get it. So, it's another explanation, but from a different angle. 
  • She says thanks too often. Sure, we are all Canadian. However, saying thanks after every other sentence that we say does not register knowledge that we have passed on to her. It is also overkill.
  • She is afraid to try anything on her own. When she had a question on how to edit a page the other day, I asked her to give it a try. She gave me a firm, "No!" Um, okay. Odd.
She does have a cartoon character voice. It's squeaky. One of my colleagues called it cute. I find it annoying the more she talks, which is pretty often.

My manager was impressed by how much information and research she did for her second interview. I didn't feel the same way. I realize now that it was all memorization. The comprehension is nonexistent. 

The red flag that I had during her second interview was that she admitted that she was a slow learner. I pointed that out to my boss. He said that the extra work that she does after hours will get her learning faster. I didn't think that it was the case then. I certainly don't see it now.

It is still frustrating dealing with someone who does not get what she is doing. I have even seen my students get frustrated.

Here's hoping that things get better, although things look bleak right now.


  1. I rarely do training anymore of new clients, but I did plenty in the day. I knew within a few minutes who would easily pickup and who would have to be spoon-fed for weeks. If they wrote down every keystroke I made rather than learning the logic behind those keystrokes -- that was sign 1. For example, a report can be run 3000 different ways depending on the parameters you set. Well, she always ran the report with the sample parameters I gave her at the first session. I showed her (for example) 5 other ways to run the report. I asked to play with other formats. Long story short for a year she only produced reports in those format no matter what was asked of her.

    This is FRUSTRATING (though profitable). Now, I have hungry competitor that I will sub contract some training that I hate doing.

    I don't envy your position.

    Rob of NY

    1. Thanks for dropping by and sharing your training experiences, Rob. I appreciate it!

      This new employee mentioned today that she is a visual learner. Frankly, I don't see it. I have a feeling that she is in the wrong profession, as she is expected to read and write content every day. Just reading and understanding what she is reading are challenging for her. I can't see her being successful in this position.