Three Characteristics of Successful End-User Software Training

Abby Ehringer
Training Manager, Forte Research Systems
September 12th, 2019

I’ve been training technical skills and soft skills for 10 years, and I’m happily still discovering new ways to connect with other learners. I specifically say “other learners” instead of “my learners” or “people in my class” because we’re all still learning, right?

I couldn’t be successful without subject matter experts to correct me when my example training scenarios aren’t quite right – I’ve learned IRB reviews expire in exactly one year and that you probably wouldn’t ever be doing a biopsy and a treadmill test on the same calendar. The SMEs and veteran OnCore team members who attend my classes are my go-to resource when learners ask questions about complex workflows and real-world challenges in research.

I also couldn’t be successful without my team – the ideas and capabilities of my fellow Forte trainers ensure we are better each day than the day before. My team helps me to be a better teacher, and I have discovered over the years that being a better educator does not require me to talk more. In fact, I try to talk less! Especially for adults, I’ve found that users experience a much higher level of success when training achieves these goals:


Adult learners will decide for themselves if this is something they need to learn, typically within the first 10 minutes of a class. Best case scenario, they are enthusiastic and open to change, and they want to master the course material and become an expert. If they see this as an opportunity to gain new knowledge or acquire new skills for their job, they will happily devote the attention and energy required to learn. Good trainers will recognize everyone in the room already has a wealth of knowledge and experience to share with the group; invite learners to share their real-world challenges, and acknowledge they will continue to be the experts in clinical research. Then, demonstrate how this new tool will support their daily routine, improve their workflows, and provide new reporting capabilities.


To ensure learners see the course material as relevant, trainers should always emphasize the connection between the course material and real-world application. For adult learners, this needs to be done early in the training process to ensure continued buy-in throughout the course. Trainers should also encourage research leadership to take an active role in establishing the importance of the training. Whether it’s a quick introduction at the beginning of each class, a pre-recorded video or even a note in the course materials, learners are much more likely to view the training and software as relevant if they understand how it fits into the vision of the organization.

On-Demand Webinar: See how Siteman Cancer Center uses super users as a training resource

Shared Experiences

Connecting learners with others who use the software on a daily basis is a great way to generate buy-in and adoption. Not only does this provide a different (and sometimes more interesting) perspective—it can also be a great case study for the successful use of software that’s specific to your organization. Connecting your learners with ‘super users’ within their organization can also establish a mentor/mentee relationship that lasts well beyond the training course, allowing your learners to develop into super users themselves.