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AfterThis.... Bill & Betty's Tale
Bill, Betty finding new technical competence

We are not IT experts. But we are enthusiastic amateurs and we are also expert communicators. The key to helping Bill and Betty was to be able to see the world from their point of view, to communicate in language that meant something to them and to deal with things that were important to them in the order that worked for them.

We gave them some basic tuition and got them set up with a dial-up connection and an email account. At first hesitantly, and then with greater confidence, they took their first steps into the world wide web.

We provided ongoing coaching, guidance, support and advice.

They now have broadband, a number of email addresses and routinely use the internet to shop, do price comparisons, research for information and book holidays. Recently, in a complete turn around, we discovered that they had made the leap from student to teacher and were using online facilities to book a holiday for some friends who are internet novices.

The key to all this, based on their feedback to us, was our clear and sensitive coaching style, matching our approach to their needs, which changed as time went on, rather than simply following a set process.

Bill and Betty are a retired couple who had moved to live in the country.

They were both intrigued by email and the internet, they knew quite a lot of people who used them but had never come to grips with it for themselves. In fact it turned out that they had even attended some lessons in computer use some years earlier but had failed to finish the course.

They had pretty well dismissed it as “...not for us.”

We met them socially. When they discovered that we had broadband, routinely used email and even had our own web site they were intrigued. We invited them round to see what we did. They were very attracted by our set up but were concerned about their ability to come to terms with it all.

It soon became clear that the problem was to do with the training that they had experienced. It’s sad to say that a lot of IT people are not the best communicators in the world. Couple this with the fact that generation differences meant that they had few, if any, common reference points with their teacher and you have a recipe for completely ineffectual training.