Perspective: A Trainers Experience Of Labs

There are few types of Labs:
a) A grade lab (99% working): close to perfect experience
b) B grade lab (75% working): Some impact to attendees/trainer stress level slightly higher
c) F grade lab (0-50% working): Do NOT even attempt to use this type!

Technical training lab environments can be a complex thing with lots of moving parts and dependencies. When a training class has been allocated an A grade lab, it is typically smooth until sunset on the last day of training. Attendees will have no problems going through the labs if they follow the step by step guide. The trainer would normally ask less of “Is everything OK?” and he gets to enjoy the peace and quietness of students diligently running through their lab exercises.

Attendees would exclaim with joy and often said in unison “It worked!”. It would however leave the trainer somewhat feeling unfulfilled because there is no challenging scenario to solve. Perhaps it is a good thing not to have too many challenges though!

Sometimes, trainers do face difficulties in tackling the lab issues that should work but attendees proclaim it does not. There are 2 options. A quick and 90% sure to work option is to ask the student to REDO the labs. Oddly enough that almost always works! Alternatively the trainer can now demonstrate his troubleshooting skill.

On the occasion of obtaining a “B grade” lab, trainer will have to be skillful enough to navigate through it. Sometimes he will also have to pray hard that the Lab Administrators are readily available for support even if it means waking them up in the morning. When the Lab Administrator says he is 5 minutes away from the lab’s location and he says the same thing again 1/2 hour later then the trainer should know by now that everyone is in trouble!

On a serious note though, this could potentially impact on the attendee’s patience and also confidence. Sometimes attendees would prefer not to have additional challenges outside the box. Time management of the crisis is very important and the trainer should keep track of it. If troubleshooting the issue takes longer than it should, it is time for the trainer to make a swift decision to carry on, else it may impact on further exercises during the course.

Last but not least if a trainer gets a lab, he should immediately realise it is an F grade that when he is sweating more and everything felt like 56kpbs. Avoid it at all cost, period.
I must proudly say most of the time Red Education labs are well managed and of A grade functionality and quality. Of course labs are complex sets of systems, networking, hardware and software, and they do fail sometimes, but it’s how these issues are handled that makes the real difference in a learning environment.

I am equally proud that the team of Red Education’s Lab Administrators are very efficient and friendly. This meant a lot to the students and their confidence in the trainer, the labs and also the training centre that they engaged with…:-)

Hon Ming Chan

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