Technical Training

Written by Shirley Parker
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Approaching technical training with a curious mind and an attitude of "I'll bet I can learn this!" can open up a world you never knew existed. You can always jump back and slam the gate shut again until you've studied the map a bit more.

Regardless of what field you enter or what career path you find yourself meandering along, technology will be involved somehow, if it isn't hanging from the branches or swinging across the rivers that interrupt your journey. The times we are privileged to be born in come with the greatest number of inventions in the smallest number of years. And yes, we also have the greatest challenges to the moral warp and weft of society. But it's still an exciting era. One of the charts in The First Measured Century indicates a total of 25,546 patents issued in 1901 and 167,990 patents issued in 1999, just in the U.S. Of course, the patent process has a number of deficiencies; by the time some patents are issued, the product is already obsolete, but let's not quibble.

With the exception of those who need additional help to reach training facilities and/or current supplies when they get there, technical training courses are available to all who've progressed beyond the early grades in school. In fact, even third-graders are quite proficient with computer keyboards and have to check their e-mail every chance they get. People currently stuck in remote villages have a much tougher time of it, but they grasp the future with both hands when presented with the opportunity.

Your First Technical Training Class

Make sure you've purchased or received the course manual. You'll want to follow along, write notes in the margins (as well as in a separate notebook you've brought along), and stay awake. But it's normal for a lecture to put people to sleep, so most instructors bring visual aids to vary the pace. Sometimes you'll be asked to hold your questions till the class leader opens up the time for questions and answers. If so, jot down what you need to ask. Other formats lend themselves to questions as the presentation progresses. Whatever the instructions, everyone will appreciate your not hogging the floor. Besides the annoyance of someone who's constantly wisecracking or griping, it makes it hard to retain new material when there's a cut-up in the class. Support your classmates and they'll return the favor.

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