- Q:Where are the course outlines and syllabi?
On many training companies’ Websites you will find course outlines and syllabi. You won’t find many here. I rarely use them. Why? Simple: The needs of real world workflows don’t follow a pre-written syllabus.
A syllabus or pre-written course forces learners into working toward the instructor’s goals, not their own. Every client has its own needs and goals; every creative and publishing workflow operates differently in some way from other workflows. I build a course specifically for your workflow, your personnel, and, most importantly, targeted squarely at reaching your goals.
Before arriving on site I will coordinate with you through telephone and e-mail to build a crystal clear picture of your goals. I will ask you about your current workflow, what works, what doesn’t, and how you feel it can be improved. Along the way I’ll listen for what you don’t say, too, for the questions you may not know to ask, and the possible solutions and options you may not be aware are available to you. I will present your options and my recommendations, and together we will finalize the goals for the engagement. This will become the foundation for the curriculum by which your personnel will be trained.
Once on-site the instruction and consultation will flow fluidly, adapting to any revised or newly discovered goals or needs. Because of my expertise with the processes, concerns, and tools of a wide variety of design and publishing workflows, I can turn the plan on a dime, adapting it on-site without delay or confusion.
Every consultation and training class I deliver is customized specifically to the needs, goals, and unique work of the client. Whenever possible, the client’s own projects are used to dramatically improve learner comprehension and retention over other types of examples and learning aids.
- Q:Does Pariah offer Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced courses?
Yes, and no. I teach people with all levels of experience, but I don’t use words like “beginner,” “intermediate,” and “advanced” to describe either the instruction I give or the people learning.
In formal, linear education such as a college course, when one starts out with no knowledge of a tool and no specific goal other than to learn the tool, and then progresses toward mastery, drawing such distinctions in skills and ability levels makes sense. On the job, however, with real world projects to complete and paying clients to wow, all that matters is being able to get work done creatively, efficiently, and with minimal confusion and frustration.
In the middle of a project, racing toward deadline, no designer has ever uttered the phrase: “Holy cow! I’ve just completed an intermediary level InDesign task!”
I teach your personnel everything they need to do their jobs and reach your goals–be those so-called beginner, intermediate, or advanced skills.
- Q:Aren't you listed as a trainer for that training company...?
Probably. The software training community is small and rather nepotistic. Most of the more experienced and adaptable instructors and consultants know each other and work together on some projects and at some times even while we compete on other projects and at other times. Because servicing clients is the overriding goal for us all, we tend to send our overflow work to, and even hire, our competition. Additionally, independent consultants like myself are often brought in by larger training companies to service their most important clients, lead teams of trainers on large engagements, or fill-in holes in training firms’ service offerings.
For instance, most contemporary firms offer ePUB and digital magazine and catalog production (digital publications to iPad and other tablest) training and consulting, but few actually have experts on staff that understand those concepts and workflows well enough to teach and consult. Most of the time, these companies secure the assignment and then call me to fulfill it (consequently I’ve earned the moniker of “the Digital Publishing Guru”).
While you can request me as the instructor from any of the companies with whom I subcontract, by hiring me directly you enjoy not only the same experience, expertise, and adaptability, but you also get me at a much lower rate. It’s simple economics: cut out the middle-man–and his markup–and go straight to the supplier.
- Q:Does Pariah offer open enrollment classroom training?
I don’t offer open enrollment training or maintain my own training classroom. My focus is on improving real world creative and publishing workflows.
In an open enrollment setting, every student brings different goals, needs, and skill levels into the classroom. When all three of those factors vary–and they always vary in an open enrollment class–it becomes difficult for an instructor to fully meet the goals and needs of every student while engaging each student. After a certain number of students it becomes impossible for an instructor to fully meet the goals and needs of every student while engaging each student. Such classes are ideal for helping new software users develop an overall education about a product and for freelancers and others seeking to improve their marketability and job prospects. But for those with specific needs and goals, those with jobs and projects already, open enrollment education achieves only a minimal return on investment.
From time to time, I do teach open enrollment classes on behalf of other training companies, but I limit the number of students so that I can target every student’s needs and goals as much as possible. If you’re looking at an open enrollment class of 10 or more people not from the same workflow, you should realize that no one with a job to do will walk away from that open enrollment class fully prepared to work more creatively and productively in a specific workflow.
That is the key difference between software education and workflow-focused training and consulting: Is the educational focus on the software or what you will do with the software?
If you would like to arrange to attend an open enrollment class please contact me. I work with many of the best training facilities, and would be happy to recommend one in your area. If you’re looking simply to share a class with a few others, read the frequently asked question: I’m an individual or small group. Can I/we combine training with other individuals or small groups?
- Q:I'm an individual or small group. Can I/we combine training with other individuals or small groups?
Yes, but with some special considerations.
Every one of my classes and consultations is 100% customized to the client(s)–to the client’s specific and unique workflow, goals, and personnel. Whenever possible I also keep training groups relatively small to enable individualized attention to each student to maximize his or her learning ability and retention. Naturally all of this is best accomplished when all students are from the workflow or at least from the same company and work within related workflow segments.
Introducing individuals and small teams from different workflows and companies–in other words, an open enrollment class–can, but does not necessarily, require a little less class material and pace customization. I’ve taught many open enrollment classes, with sometimes up to 35 students, all from different workflows, with disparate goals and needs for the class. During such classes I’ve done my best to target the instruction to each individual’s needs and workflow (and, by some miracle, been able to actually pull that off to every student’s satisfaction). However, I can deliver the best quality, most thorough instruction when the class is limited in size to only 2–5 different workflows.
In other words, yes, you can join up with other designers or small groups to share a class with me. Because I don’t charge per person but rather per group of people (see my rates and pricing) this will enable individuals and small groups to share the cost of the class, thus reducing the cost per student.
For your benefit and the benefit of other students, sharing an on-site class is limited to 6 separate workflows represented by the students or 12 students in total; remote, Web conferencing training is limited to a maximum of 5 separate workflows and a maximum of 6 students total. Those limitations will enable me to meet everyone’s goals and still provide individual attention to each student without slowing down the class or negatively impacting anyone’s learning experience.
To schedule a combined on-site class: We’ll need a facility that includes workspaces for all students and the instructor. The facility will need somewhere onto which I can project my laptop (e.g. a projection screen, a blank white wall, a big-screen television, and so on), seating for all, and power plugs for all (students will need to provide their own laptops or computers). A conference room is ideal, but design bullpens are also excellent as long the training will be undisturbed by co-workers. If neither you nor the other students have such a facility available, we can rent one from a nearby hotel or training center facility.
To schedule a combined Web conferencing class: Classes can also be held remotely, with each student participating from his or her office, home, or hotel room. There are three big advantages to Web conferencing and one major drawback.
The advantages are that students can participate from anywhere in the world; we don’t all need to be in the same conference room or even in the same state. Full audio and video will delivered via the computer; all everyone needs is a computer, headphones, a microphone, and an Internet connection–preferably a network cable connection rather than WiFi due to the amount of data real-time audio, video, and screen-sharing represents and WiFi’s tendency to lag or drop some of that data.
Because I won’t be traveling to your location, you will not need to cover my travel expenses. The only costs are the price of the class.
Also, because there is no traveling involved for me, I can often schedule a virtual class sooner than an on-site. If you’ve got all your students ready to go and need training this week, assuming I have the days open, we can go ahead and do the training. I’ve delivered rush or even emergency training to clients with looming deadlines within 24 hours of contact and, a couple of times, within minutes of our initial conversation (sometimes there’s a small rush charge involved).
The drawback to Web conferencing is that I won’t be able to see your faces and screens. You can share your computer’s screen via the Web conferencing software, but it’s single-screen-sharing at any given time–either everyone sees my computer’s screen or everyone sees yours. In a classroom or conference room setting I typically walk around the room frequently to see everyone’s screens. This lets me see, without pausing the class or even my spoken instruction, what and how everyone is doing, if someone is missing a step or getting unexpected results, and generally just ensure everyone is on the same page (figuratively or literally). Just as important, in person I can see every student’s face and know immediately if the subject I’m explaining is making sense, if I need to rephrase my explanation, or if everyone gets it and it’s time to move on. Virtual instruction via Web conference robs me of the ability to see your faces, so verbal responses become crucial; in other words, you’ll be doing more talking in a remote training session than you might in person.
Several times a month I successfully deliver both on-site and remote training. Both have their benefits and drawbacks, but both are excellent options for sharing a class to reduce per-student expenditure.
- Q:Who owns software purchases?
You do. As a convenience to my clients I am available to make software and hardware purchases on your behalf. If you ask that I purchase products on your behalf, I do exactly that, on your behalf. The money is yours, so the products it purchases will be yours. You will own the licenses and be entitled to any warranties, manufacturer support, and/or future upgrade incentives that accompany the products. In the future, when it’s time to upgrade, you can go directly through the manufacturer or other available sales channels without the need to involve me–unless you want to (I’ll probably be missing you by then, too, and would welcome the chance to help again).
- Q:What about after sale support?
That’s a very important question.
You will receive one year of complimentary support following an on-site engagement, either training or consulting. If the development of custom plug-ins, scripts, or applications is part of my work for you, you will receive three years of complimentary support on those custom developed components.
All members of your team will be able to contact me for support via e-mail, and team leaders, I.T., and management will also be able to telephone for support.
Depending on the products and systems improved or introduced into your workflow, you may also receive manufacturer’s warranty support. For example, as of this writing, Adobe offers complimentary technical support on the current and most recent previous version of retail software such as InDesign or InCopy. In addition to support from me, you will receive any warranteed support available from the manufacturer, even if I purchase the products on your behalf.
- Q:Where can Pariah travel? Is his training and consulting limited to the US or North America?
Oh, no. I teach and consult anywhere in the world. However, because I only speak English (well), I require that all students speak fluent English. (I can count up to 10, say please and thank you, and ask for directions to my embassy in nine other languages, but those basic phrases won’t get us very far toward optimizing a workflow.)
- Q:Who should make Pariah's travel arrangements?
Typically it’s easier and more efficient if I make my own travel arrangements, but if you have someone to take care of such things, I’m happy to coordinate with him or her.
- Q:How soon can Pariah get to your office or deliver remote training?
Let’s find out!