A training manager’s diary: time management and e-learning

28 April What fool arranged a time management course for the recycling department on the Friday before a bank holiday? It’s my golden rule that I’m outta here early on such days. Now, I’m having to spend the day with a bunch of tree huggers working out what percentage of their less than valuable time they spend on must-do urgent tasks. “Will that be when someone calls to say the contractor hasn’t collected their rubbish for a fortnight?” says one. “Yes Cassie,” I explain patiently. “That is indeed a must-do urgent task that you should note as ‘A’ on your time log.” “Yeah, I see what you mean, but when I tell Clearitallup – Prangcaster’s refuse collection partner – they say they’ll fit it in as and when. Don’t that make it a ‘C’?” And so it goes on until 5.30pm.

2 May Einstein was right. Time bends, and it bends even more when you’ve got a day off. In fact, it bends so much that it scarcely seems like a day off at all. I can’t bear to look at the feedback forms from the time management course. It wasn’t my finest eight-and-a-half hours. “Don’t forget our meeting this afternoon,” says Lynda, my fellow L&D professional. Oh yes. That’ll be the one with the HRD to discuss the Soap numbers, or rather the SkillsOpenAll-Points user metrics. You’d think he’d be happy that it even works given the capacity of our IS team to disrupt most initiatives. I’ve never forgiven them for ignoring me when they specced the damn system. I’d forgotten all about the Soap meeting but am saved from reputation meltdown when the HRD’s PA pops in to tell us the meeting’s been delayed until the day after tomorrow.

4 May Lynda and I have turned into Mr and Ms Soap Metrics. We contacted the Soap User Group yesterday to ask if any members had developed the metrics beyond Soap’s basic package. This comprised a single screen showing our total daily, weekly and monthly usage in hours, minutes and seconds and ditto per department – hardly comprehensive. It would shame a Year 3 Sats test. Anyway, just to prove that there can be a God, SUG put us on to what it called a super-user – the type of person whom psychiatrists would consider as suffering from anally-retentive obsessive behaviour. He sent us his super-user metrics program, which measures individual usage of every facility and book that Soap offers. Meeting with HRD goes like a dream.

11 May I’ve finally got round to reading the time management feedback sheets. Under the heading: ‘How effective was the training you received?’, one of the oiks has written: “I now know my Cs from my Bs but am still not sure about my As. Might be useful in my social life.” Eh? Do we pay these people? Another commented: “The trainer should spend a day on the refuse desk before putting this course together.” While one wrote: “What’s the point of showing a video so old that everyone in it looks like a survivor of an ABBA tribute band?” Has it really come to this?

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