Why MiniMad Works

Last week I announced a new MadCap Flare training initiative called MiniMad that I’m offering here on my website. I think this is an exciting new option for people to receive the specific kind of training they want when they are at the point that they are ready for it.

Here are some questions I anticipate you may have, medications and their answers.

What is a MiniMad training?

MiniMad training classes are short, live training classes to help you learn something specific about MadCap Flare. (Depending on the response, I may branch out into other MadCap products in the future.) This training is provided via web conference. Like a standard training class, participants will receive some training material and training files related to the specific course they are taking. I will present the training live, taking questions as I go, and will give participants exercises to complete as the class progresses. This will give participants a hands-on opportunity to use the presented material and ask questions about it to address areas where they need additional clarification.

Is the class size limited?

Yes. Class sizes for 1 hour courses are limited to four registrants. Class sizes for other courses is limited to six registrants.

How is this different than a webinar?

In a traditional webinar, the presenter speaks in lecture mode. Participants generally are not able to ask questions as they go, and webinars are not generally interactive. MiniMad training classes, on the other hand, are in conference mode. Participants are able to ask questions as they come up. The class is interactive with the instructor learning about the class member’s needs and prior learning, so we can work together to build on what you already know. For this purpose, each class is limited in size so that each participant has an equal chance to ask questions, get help, and contribute to the small group discussion. Because of this, no two MiniMad courses will be identical. We’ll work together to see how you want the class to take shape and to ensure your questions are answered.

Why did you introduce this service?

MiniMad training classes are designed to address three fundamental difficulties with traditional training classes:

  • Traditional training classes are generally too expensive for individuals or contract employees
  • Traditional training classes take a significant chunk of time, which many project writers can’t afford away from the project
  • Traditional training classes can create burnout for attendees by the end of a third or fourth day

This isn’t intended as an insult to traditional training classes. They have their important place, and I continue to offer traditional training classes both online and onsite. However, as I’ve worked with many users around the world, I consistently hear feedback like:

  • “Oh, my company would never pay a thousand dollars for training.”
  • “I’m not a beginner, so I don’t want to spend time in a training class on stuff I already know.”
  • “I’m a consultant, and I have to pay for training out of my own earnings, and traditional training is so expensive.”
  • “We only get to send one or two writers each year for professional development classes or conferences, but we have a team of 5 writers!”
  • “Traditional training classes wear me out! By the third day my brain is full and I have a hard time remembering everything that is taught. I wish we could break it up more.”
  • “I’m the only writer, and taking three days to a week away from my projects is really not feasible.”

MiniMad training classes are priced so that even individuals on a budget can afford them, with classes starting at USD$55.00 and going up to USD$150.00, based on course length. Since you only take the modules you need, you customize your training experience around the pieces that are relevant to your and your projects. Since training classes are offered multiple times a week, you can pick up the courses you are interested in at a pace that works for you. Initially I’ve scheduled most training classes for afternoon or evening hours (US time, based on your timezone) to help make it easier for those people who have a hard time getting away from work. I’m also flexible in my training times and dates, so I’m willing to create a custom training session for individual customers, if that is what you need.

This flexible model allows me to provide personalized live instruction to small groups of people on very specific subjects.

What about standard training classes? Aren’t you competing with them?

I don’t think MiniMad training sessions are in direct competition with standard or traditional training classes. Really I’m targeting a niche here that traditional training hasn’t served very well: those whose budget and time constraints don’t allow them to participate in traditional training. In fact, I think that traditional training classes still have immense value, and I continue providing that service to those for whom traditional training is a good option. I think of MiniMad training sessions as broadening the number of people who can get professional, affordable training. In that sense MiniMad sessions are a supplement to traditional training classes, not a direct replacement for it.

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