Everyone knows that in order to have a successful LIMS implementation including a high solution adoption and utilization rate, a critical ingredient in your success recipe is ensuring that all the stakeholders are trained on the new solution. This includes the administrators, lab personnel, managers, and any others in your organization that will be utilizing the LIMS or its information. Luckily, LIMS vendors routinely offer training on their systems, but is this training truly effective? Will the vendor training satisfy the needs of all your stakeholders?
The benefit of tailored LIMS training
LIMS training courses by the vendor will generally be offered for the LIMS administrators and end users. The LIMS administrator training will be much more intense and go into the features and functions that only the administrators will need to utilize like setting up user accounts, roles and privileges, specifications, tests, etc. End user training will focus on how to utilize the LIMS and how the end user can tailor their personal experience. However, the LIMS training offered by the vendor will be based on a generic training system which will not reflect YOUR configured LIMS solution.
To realize the biggest benefits from your LIMS training and enhance your LIMS adoption and utilization rates, it is a best practice to have customized, tailored training materials and courses developed with which to train your stakeholders. By taking this extra step, your LIMS training will exactly reflect your LIMS configuration so your stakeholders will be trained with your specifications, tests, sample naming conventions, workflows, reports, etc. This will resonate with your stakeholders and provide a more valuable training experience for them.
A bonus with this approach is that your customized training materials are considered a “work for hire” and therefore your property. Copying and reusing these materials to train new personnel is then legally sound unlike vendor training materials which are generally copyrighted and technically should not be copied or reused, unless other arrangements are made with the vendor.
The benefit of role based LIMS training
As noted above, LIMS vendors will generally offer LIMS administrator and end user training courses, but will these two courses be effective for everyone in your lab organization? It is unlikely that every person in the lab does the same functions. A lab manager’s needs, with respect to LIMS training, will be very different from a bench scientist’s needs, which will be different from a technician’s needs. And what about the people in your organization who primarily need to access information within the LIMS or just run reports? They will also need training. So if you plan on utilizing the vendor’s generic end user training for all these roles, you will likely have either a bunch of very bored or very annoyed people on your hands and your system adoption and utilization rates will plummet.
To overcome this, it is recommended that customized, role-based LIMS training courses and materials be developed and delivered. The benefit of doing this is, only the features and functions that are pertinent to each role (i.e. manager, scientist, technician, info consumer) will be covered in each course, creating a better and more effective training set. Additionally, if you design these materials to be modular, you will be able to add and/or subtract elements in your training materials and classes to support the inevitable changes in responsibility of the roles in your organization.
LIMS training for different learning styles
Educators have long known that people learn in very different ways. There are four types of learners:
Each learning type responds best to a different method of teaching. Visual learners prefer to see information and to visualize the relationships between ideas. Auditory learners prefer to hear information rather than reading it or seeing it displayed visually. Reading/writing learners prefer to get their information from an educational source like a book or pamphlet, then transcribing it to paper. Kinesthetic learners prefer to learn by hands-on experience and learn best by doing.
To optimize the learning and retention of the LIMS training for your personnel, it is a best practice to provide a variety of delivery mechanisms and styles when developing your tailored LIMS training materials and courses, such as:
- Traditional classroom, lecture only
- Traditional classroom, lecture plus exercises
- Computer based, text oriented, self-paced training
- Computer based, video oriented, self-paced training
- Workshop style, hands-on training
Have you utilized LIMS vendor provided training? If so, did it meet your needs? If not, have you considered having some customized, role-based training materials and courses developed?