User Training for Busy Programmers

User Training for Busy Programmers
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Table of Contents
Sample Chapters
  • A complete guide to creating software training courses and materials
  • Concise and practical step-by-step approach
  • Check-lists ensure that you are fully prepared
  • Based on proven educational techniques


Book Details

Language : English
Paperback : 92 pages [ 235mm x 191mm ]
Release Date : June 2005
ISBN : 1904811450
ISBN 13 : 9781904811459
Author(s) : William Rice
Topics and Technologies : All Books, Other, Architecture & Analysis, e-Learning
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William Rice

William Rice is an e-learning professional who lives, works, and plays in New York City. He is the author of books on Moodle, Blackboard, Magento, and software training. He especially enjoys building e-learning solutions for small and mid-sized businesses. His greatest professional satisfaction is when one of his courses enables students to do something that makes their work easier and more productive.

His indoor hobbies include writing books and spending way too much time reading His outdoor hobbies include practicing archery within sight of JFK Airport, and trying to keep up with his sons on the playground.

William is fascinated by the relationship between technology and society: how we create our tools, and how our tools in turn shape us. He is married to an incredible woman who encourages his writing pursuits, and has two amazing sons.

You can reach William through his website at

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Sample chapters

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What you will learn from this book

  • A systematic process for creating training courses and materials for software users
  • Understanding your audience and ensuring that what you teach them is relevant and useful
  • How to use effective in-class exercises as part of the learning mix
  • Choosing what to teach and what to leave out
  • How to tailor your approach to different user needs, and different types of software
  • Preparing written guides for students and instructors

In Detail

If you need to write a successful software training course and are unsure of how to start, then this book gets right to the point with clear, concise directions for developing an end-user software course. This step-by-step job aid walks you through the process of developing a successful, instructor-led software class.

There are many good books on training theory. This book takes a more practical, condensed approach for when you don't have time to learn training theory. It is based on fifteen years of technical writing and training experience. In under 100 pages, the book guides you through the process of developing an end-user software course using a method that is tested, proven, and based upon sound instructional theory.

William Rice has spent over 20 years developing software training, user documentation, and knowledge management solutions with some of the biggest companies in the United States. During that time, he has built up a unique understanding of the training industry that lead him to writing this book.

"Even though software training has come into its own as a profession, I still see many situations where programmers and customer service reps are called upon to develop and deliver training. These people can easily find targeted, concise information about how to teach and speak effectively. But I noticed that almost every book I saw on developing training courses required the reader to wade through a lot training theory. In even the most concise books, it's as if the author feels the need to justify the techniques presented by giving the theory behind them. I saw a need for a book that just says, "Here's what's worked for me during the past twenty years. If you want to know the theory behind it, just do a search on 'adult learning theory.' But if you don't have time for that, start at page one and let's get started..."

If you are a busy programmer or software professional who's lumbered with the job of training users then this book is for you. It gives you step-by-step instructions to developing your software class. Without getting bogged down for a second in education theory, you will be developing successful training courses in no time.

Read Chapter 4: "Develop Lectures" (PDF - 72KB)


This book is concise and pithy, focusing on action rather than theory. While many books explore the subject of adult learning, User Training for Busy Programmers shows the reader how to apply  a proven method in a systematic way enabling busy programmers to produce excellent results without adding too much to their workload.

William's approach is to start in the middle and work your way outward. He based this approach on an article he wrote about how to develop user documentation. "I wrote this when I realized that my method for creating user documentation and training under tight deadlines was nothing like what I learned in school. I really expected heavy criticism from other writers and trainers when I published this article, but apparently my heresy was well-received. It's one of the most-linked-to and highest-rated articles on my website. By the time I saw the need for a book that enables non-trainers to develop software training courses, I had thoroughly developed the middle-out approach."

Who this book is for

Do you need to write a successful software training course? Are you unsure of how to start? Would you like a step-by-step project plan to guide you in the development of your software class? This book gets right to the point with clear, concise directions for developing an end-user software course.

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