I am a thinker by nature; always pondering my choices so that I make the most informed decisions. So for me, the Three R’s of SAS Training aren’t “Reading, wRiting and ‘aRithmetic”, they are Reason, Reflect and Ruminate which allows me time to gather information from others and provide the best possible services to our customers. Recently, several of my managers and I hosted the 5th annual Education Customer Summit at SAS Global Forum. Sixteen SAS enthusiasts gathered in a conference room to candidly discuss what we’re doing right and what we can improve upon here at SAS Education. This rare opportunity to get face-to-face with some of our training customers resulted in an informative discussion that has me contemplating some new SAS Training initiatives for the remainder of 2011.
One thing the group discussed was the different ways of delivering training. While the majority of the group agreed that face-to-face classroom training is the most effective for learning, we all understand that it is not always practical to travel. Training budgets, travel constraints, the number of employees who need training and time away from the office are all taken into consideration before deciding how to consume the training. This is not a surprise to me; I have heard the same things from other customers. That is why we have been expanding our Live Web and e-Learning offerings. Additionally, our course development team is working on new courses that blend our training formats. Our first course using a blended approach is Advanced Analytics for the Modern Business Analyst. It combines instructor-led training with discussion forums, relevant readings and lab time and has been a huge hit. We’re continuing to experiment with this type of delivery so be on the lookout for information on the upcoming SQL 2 course that will also follow a blended learning format.
In the summit, I also learned that our customers would like to see real world examples that are similar to the problems they may actually face in their business. Our onsite training program is a great avenue to pursue when you need tailored training for your group. And, in the coming months, we’ll be improving our mentoring program to make it more accessible to all students. For example, you may choose to extend an onsite course to include customized mentoring for a specific business problem you’re having at the time. Or, you might schedule separate time either at your site, on the phone or as a web conference with a SAS instructor as a group experience or solo. We know that learning styles and needs vary and that we must be flexible to meet every business need, that’s what makes SAS training great.
I really appreciate the opportunity to meet face-to-face with customers, and even though this was a small sampling of our user base, I gleaned a lot of important information that I will strive to incorporate into our agenda as we approach the second half of 2011. It’s great to get this kind of candid feedback from our users, and I encourage you to do the same. We always welcome feedback and I welcome you to leave a comment below.