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OpenOffice training tips

How long does it take to train users on OpenOffice? Could you offer some training tips?

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The training time depends on the person's familiarity with Microsoft Office or other suites, and a few other factors, so I can't make estimates on that. I can however suggest the following tips for transitioning a group to OpenOffice.org.
  • Sometimes motivation is low to learn the new product. If possible, show the benefits (higher bonuses, more parties, other benefits) that the company will see because they aren't paying for office suite software any more.

  • It's easier to go along the old way than to learn a new way. If possible, have the old office suite removed from everyone's desktops once they are expected to be using OpenOffice.org full time.

  • Schedule weekly lunch and learns for a few weeks prior to the main training, to give users a chance to get familiar with the product slowly.

  • I would suggest a week of training for anyone who wants to get comfortable, if not expert, with the entire package. However, if users will simply be using Writer, or one of the other applications, and are expected to learn more on their own, then one day per application would be sufficient. For infrequent users, a one-day orientation to the entire application, accompanied by a user's guide per department or user, could be sufficient.

  • During the main training, have users make quick reference cards of their own for the tasks they'll be using the most.

  • Follow up the main training with another series of weekly lunch and learns, possibly two or three a week, that users who attended training are required to present. This reinforces learning and also can function as the pre-training lunch and learns for another wave of users who haven't gone through training yet.

  • The key thing about OpenOffice.org is that it's easy when you know how. Some things aren't quite as obvious as they are in other suites. Therefore reliable documentation is essential, for new or experienced users. OpenOffice.org has some free documentation on various sites -- there is the "OpenOffice.org Resource Kit" user's guide and CD; other OpenOffice.org books have been announced, and there is the online help.

This was first published in May 2003

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