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Hand-holding vs "Google it"?
13

Hand-holding vs "Google it"?

Hand-holding vs "Google it"?

(OP)
I provide IT and engineering tech. support to mechanical engineers. Often these folks want to learn more about some new programming language. They expect me to prepare a lecture and teach them how to program. This seems so inefficient to my method of just googling it.

In a few hours I can pick up the basics from following some online tutorial. I can learn at my pace and focus on things I know I will use. With the classroom approach it is in one ear and out the next. Unless you actually apply the knowledge you will quickly forget it. Plus you will learn so many things that you will likely never use.

I wonder why are so many engineers fixated on classroom learning vs. self learning ? I find it kind of annoying cause it's not something I expect of an engineer.

RE: Hand-holding vs "Google it"?

5
Well given your past posts on your attitude to support I'm not surprised.

I do agree in this case, being lectured at by a resentful IT droid is unlikely to be a better learning experience than on line learning.

So, if this is an actual situation, why don't you review the various on line resources and put together a helpful list of where your long-suffering customers should be looking? I can tell you now, that in my field the on-line MOOCs etc vary from impenetrable to brilliant.

Cheers

Greg Locock


New here? Try reading these, they might help FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm?

RE: Hand-holding vs "Google it"?

I find to teach yourself something you have no/limited idea about initially you often need some verification from others that you 'have things right' at some point, or you need some sort of place to start which is where classroom learning can help as starting out in a new language can sometimes be quite overwhelming depending on what languages they already are proficient with (as many have similarities, while others are quite different).

I think classroom learning probably helps to get a feel for writing 'good' code (depending on teacher), having to figure out some other persons poorly written code or logic can be quite hard. Sometimes to the point where if you know what is being done its easier to rewrite it in a way that follows better programming logic.

I taught myself VBA and snippets of other languages over several years by just 'googling it' and playing around until what I wanted to do worked. I use VBA fairly regularly now in spreadsheet development, but the other languages don't get used much so like you say you pretty much forget those if not using all the time (bodged together code that works at the time, but reading it a year later its quite hard to follow what I was thinking for example!).

I can imagine I probably would have gotten to where I am now using VBA a little faster had I taken some sort of initial course to get a feel for the basics/intermediate stuff (initially it was a steep learning curve, previous experience consisted of programming in basic on my commodore 64 about 20 years ago!).

For some people they want it all handed to them on a platter, some need it all handed to them on a platter, others manage to get there under their own steam using other references like books or google.

Might depend on whether they are learning on company time, or in their own time, might get there faster if shown the ropes so to speak if they are getting paid to learn. In this context this sounds like part of your job role potentially to facilitate this aspect? Just because its not the way you learn doesn't mean it doesn't work for others.

If the people just want to do something particular in the language as a one off rather than learning the language like the back of their hand they might need some more focused help. As you note, if you simply dabble in it from time to time you need to keep using it to keep it fresh in your mind.

RE: Hand-holding vs "Google it"?

"In a few hours I can pick up the basics from following some online tutorial. I can learn at my pace and focus on things I know I will use. With the classroom approach it is in one ear and out the next. Unless you actually apply the knowledge you will quickly forget it. Plus you will learn so many things that you will likely never use."

With that attitude, one can clearly see that you are neither interested nor suited to teach your engineers anything. Firstly, the "classroom approach" is an antiquated concept, and you could surely do better with a hands-on approach. There are many examples on the web where such classes take you through a series of exercises that both educate and train the student on concepts and applications at the same time. And certainly, one can focus the class on the things that the students would most likely use.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Hand-holding vs "Google it"?

Sounds like you're comparing a class taught by the stereotypical university professor who has never worked in industry (aka a professional teacher) with online individual learning. I think if you ask most engineers they'd prefer taking a class from someone with industry experience over either of the first two, which tend to be equally full of useless drivel.

RE: Hand-holding vs "Google it"?

Funny.

Our "IT droids" tend to ask us "mechanical engineers" how to program. They often think we must have been on some course, because that's where stuff's learned.

Maybe you [OP] are a wannabe engineer, stuck in a support role?

Steve

RE: Hand-holding vs "Google it"?

To me it is positive that mechanical engineers are interested in learning IT/programming stuffs (all though I can imagine that any mechanical engineer has some basics from school, etc). Means it is a boundaryless attitude to be promoted. Just for this reason alone, people should look how to develop synergies as versatile knowledge/skills can be a good leverage and asset for any competitive company especially nowdays: new digital era, new challenges. IMO, bottom line is not Classroom vs. Online, instead it should be how to nurture this and not create another 'missed opportunity'.

RE: Hand-holding vs "Google it"?

In my case, on my own time, I get sucked into Python/R/Matlabesque based on-line courses on what might loosely be described as datacrunching and machine learning. I can see why people like R, I know why people hate Matlaby things, and the sheer energy of the py community almost guarantees that time spent on python is not wasted.

OTOH, the Matlab based open days, conferences, and so on are easily the most eye opening training I get in a typical year.

Cheers

Greg Locock


New here? Try reading these, they might help FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm?

RE: Hand-holding vs "Google it"?

2
My wife the teacher says that some people, maybe most, just cannot learn, without the rigor and guidance, or whatever it is, that a classroom brings.

I have noticed that some people, e.g. my wife the teacher, have great difficulty using a search engine, e.g. adjusting queries until their actual question is covered. Such people would not be able to find the YouTube video covering exactly what they need.

Even if a third party, say ParabolicTet the OP, found the perfect lesson on video and cued it up for them, some people could not learn from the canned content in the same way they would learn from a live person delivering the same content.

Parabolic, be grateful to have a job, smile, and do what it requires.

Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: Hand-holding vs "Google it"?

Star for Mike!

RE: Hand-holding vs "Google it"?

Why Is training the engineers PTet’s job? They’re not his subordinates. PTet has his own job to do, and that job is not leading programming classes. Engineering managers also have their own job to do, which includes overseeing the training needs of the engineers.

RE: Hand-holding vs "Google it"?

"Why Is training the engineers PTet’s job?"

Seems to me that an IT person with supposedly CS education would be suited to teach programming, aside from being unmotivated and contemptuous of the students.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Hand-holding vs "Google it"?

You're suited for sailboat ballast, but no one demands it from you.

RE: Hand-holding vs "Google it"?

So there you are, doing your job, keeping the computers running and your boss and customers nominally happy. Some blithering boob wanders in from another department and says "You can learn this thing I want to know. Learn it and then teach me."

For nothing.

Adding to you workload, ignoring your actual duties (and other internal customers whom you must serve, because it's your actual job).

"You're a bad person!" blusters the blithering engineer. "I want something! Gimme Gimme GIMME!"

No. No one "should" anything. PTet has his own job to do. He (she?) has no more obligation to teach engineers code than the engineers have to design the marketing director's new lake house.

batHonesty may be the best policy, but insanity is a better defense.bat
http://www.EsoxRepublic.com-SolidWorks API VB programming help

RE: Hand-holding vs "Google it"?

IT guy walks past engineer's desk. He spots a new caliper and likes it. It's so shiny.

"You should buy me one like that." Engineer says "OK. It's just money. I can always work longer."

Happily ever after.

The end.

RE: Hand-holding vs "Google it"?

(OP)
I guess there are three ways to learn:

1) On-site training provided by vendor
2) On-site by in-house engineer (me)
3) Learn yourself by googling it in 1/10'th the time and cost

If people have money to burn then by all means pick #1 or #2. To me it seems ironic since engineers are meant to be resourceful people who are all about making things efficient. If you can only learn by someone hand-holding then why did you become an engineer?

RE: Hand-holding vs "Google it"?

"To me it seems ironic since engineers are meant to be resourceful people who are all about making things efficient. "

Or, perhaps, they see that you have infinitely more time on your hands and it's actually more "efficient" for you to do the research and follow dead ends while they're doing the paid work, particularly when you make statements like, "In a few hours I can pick up the basics from following some online tutorial."

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Hand-holding vs "Google it"?

Every engineer, packing machine operator, or IT guru walking into your office has a "standard job order" (his/her payroll is paid from an operating, maintenance, sales, or engineering or manufacturing internal budget.)

You, too, have an operating budget your boss pays you from. Might be several budgets, depending on how precise your company is about assigning staff to different sales contracts and projects.

Let us assume your training time is worth something. I have not trained under you as an instructor, I will make no assumptions about whether or not you can actually train some one else, or whether that person is worth training in your opinion, your boss's opinion (which is what really counts) or his/her boss's opinion. Which counts even more.

If any potential trainee needs
Establish a policy: <1/4 hour, simple counseling and guidance = No charge, no job order allowance.
1/4 hour to 1/2 hour, their time is logged against that department, but no charge.
1/2 hour to 1 hour = You need boss's permission. It is logged.
1 hour or more (including classroom prep time and lesson planning and material preparations or rental), software rental or programming = Job order needed from that department to work on it.

RE: Hand-holding vs "Google it"?

(OP)
"Or, perhaps, they see that you have infinitely more time on your hands and it's actually more "efficient" for you to do the research and follow dead ends while they're doing the paid work, particularly when you make statements like, "In a few hours I can pick up the basics from following some online tutorial."

That makes sense . I suppose only large corporations with specialized engineers can afford this luxury.. This is just an example of how corporations work that I have to learn to accept..

RE: Hand-holding vs "Google it"?

In my book its pretty simple. If it is part of your job to train/mentor people (as a senior engineer for example, it is part of my job) then you need to decide the best way forward. "Google it", is probably not fulfilling that role.

If training is not part of your job and you aren't interested then I would have the thought the answer was bleeding obvious. Tell them to go away. If it isn't part of your job but something you are interested in (this is called future proofing your career) then be helpful not lame.

So which is it?



Cheers

Greg Locock


New here? Try reading these, they might help FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm?

RE: Hand-holding vs "Google it"?

Quote (OP)

Often these folks want to learn more about some new programming language. They expect...... I wonder why.

The perils of having been labelled as "whiny" in an earlier thread! You could just read this one as a query about whether Mechanical Engineers tend towards a different preferred learning style from IT people.

PTet: Does this apparent fixation with classroom learning spread across your whole engineering community, or are you looking at a minority? If the latter (and this is 100% pure nosiness; I don't know where I'm going with it), do you know enough about the people in question to tell if they have other traits in common?

A.

RE: Hand-holding vs "Google it"?

Quote:

Quote:

PTet has his own job to do. He (she?) has no more obligation to teach engineers code than the engineers have to design the marketing director's new lake house.

Within the boundaries of ethics, legal, and other basic limitations, if he's collecting a paycheck he's obligated to do what his supervisor asks. If my boss asked me to I'd start in on that lake house immediately. If folks outside his chain of command are asking for something unrealistic or unwanted, he needs to direct them to his supervisor - simple. The "not my job" attitude is a great way of getting canned and blacklisted.

Employers large and small alike that I've worked for or closely with have all occasionally offered similar cross-training like the OP's describing. Tech skills are usually handled by the IT folks bc typically they are the SMEs in that area.

RE: Hand-holding vs "Google it"?

I learn much faster from a live person in a setting where I can ask questions.

So much of what google gives as answers is complete nonsense, and as a beginner in a subject, I wouldn't have the knowledge to separate the wheat and the chaff.

Is it really so horrible to be asked to help other folks learn? If it's not your calling, then fine, say no thank you and suggest an IT friend who is also interested in teaching.

Please remember: we're not all guys!

RE: Hand-holding vs "Google it"?

Is it your job to help with this? If it isn't, you're free to say that you don't have time to help with that.

If it is, and you've been told to give a class as part of your job, try doing it and use it as a chance to increase your skills. I'd love to get a chance to pass along my skills to others and actually have an okay from management to spend hours on it.

If you haven't been told to train people in a certain way, but it's within your purview, then find your own way to help. "Just google it" isn't really constructive for someone starting on a task. You can't google things if you don't have the context to ask the right questions. Rather, you can, but it's not necessarily straightforward or necessarily a good use of people's time. I don't want someone at work trying to reinvent the wheel when someone else could just explain it to them.

So if this is something that keeps happening, build a resource that people can use. Write a few page document explaining how they can find more help, buy a couple of books for the office, find some general youtube tutorials that people could watch, make a list of a handful of websites. If you can hit it from a few angles, it will help people out.

Then if people come and ask you general questions, you can point them towards your document as a starting point.

If more formal training would be helpful and it's not really in your scope to provide, or you don't have the time, propose that people get brought in to do lunchtime training for a few weeks. Or point people towards classes they could take.

If someone comes to you and is legitimately asking how to improve at skills you're good at, at least point them at how they can improve those skills. "Google it" is basically just telling people to fuck off and figure it out.

RE: Hand-holding vs "Google it"?

Star for SLTA. As social creatures, I believe most people tend to enjoy group osmosis learning rather than reading dry drivel and slogging through it on your own. I would think being asked to teach a subject of your expertise in an informal setting to other professionals would be a compliment. Teaching others builds not only your own confidence, but Q&A often stretches your own thinking and perspective, as well. Good opportunity to serve coffee and rolls on company time and take things up a notch!

It is better to have enough ideas for some of them to be wrong, than to be always right by having no ideas at all.

RE: Hand-holding vs "Google it"?

As an engineer, I vastly prefer a structured classroom environment to self-learning... as long as the classroom moves at a pace that I'm comfortable with (not too fast, not too slow). And therein lies the rub... pace.

But I'll still take a class if I can.

Dan - Owner
http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

RE: Hand-holding vs "Google it"?

Regarding classroom learning vs. self learning
For many of the design offices at I have worked in, the fastest productivity improvement one could have made would have been to send everyone (the engineers) on a MS word course, then everyone would have been close to being on the same page in terms of basic skill sets & understanding, that would have enabled the use of common templates without people spending 10 minutes each time breaking all the features (ok something about herding cats may come to mind). Googling it works but thata doesn't give much uniformity in skill sets.

RE: Hand-holding vs "Google it"?

A "classroom" explanation sets a standard of expectations.

I used to count sand. Now I don't count at all.

RE: Hand-holding vs "Google it"?

I worked in a support role and sometimes got asked to attend another department staff meeting to give some training. Alternatively, someone from another department would come my staff meetings for training.

There’s multiple reasons why these training sessions occur. One scenario can be one employee wanting to help out their co-workers to learn something. Another scenario can be an employee that wants to do something that will look good on their year-end review by bringing in someone to teach. Note that this looks good for both sides. Furthermore, another situation has to do with a lapse in understanding or communication in a certain subject that resulted in wasted time and money.

Let’s look at it from a different angle instead of a classroom and apply it to meetings. Maybe no meetings whatsoever, so employees have to read every new company standard, bulletin, or work procedure individually with no q&a. Trust me that would be disastrous.

Alternatively apply it to a sales engineer. Let’s say I will not offer any onsite presentations on my company services. Therefore, I will just tell you to google the website and/or email you a brochure. I would be out of a job.

Whether you think it’s your job or not to offer training session is something to discuss with your supervisor.

RE: Hand-holding vs "Google it"?

"Maybe no meetings whatsoever, so employees have to read every new company standard, bulletin, or work procedure individually with no q&a. Trust me that would be disastrous. "

Um, those of us who telecommute are in exactly that situation. And it doesn't hurt at all.

Cheers

Greg Locock


New here? Try reading these, they might help FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm?

RE: Hand-holding vs "Google it"?

Some/most people (engineers included) need some form of guidance to improve their confidence in the subject matter. Whether this is a classroom or a senior engineer's active guidance is irrelevant. There are some engineers that are willing to learn for themselves and have inherent motivation to do so - but most of the time still need some sort of feedback. Not always but most of the time.
If you are working on something completely new, R&D for example there may not be a mentor to guide you - but likely the subject matter is still within a general realm of expertise - and is reviewed (this is called peer review - which gives you feedback).

If it is part of your job to mentor more junior engineers, it is your duty to recognize the mentorship process - you can not just tell them to "google it like I do". Even if you recommend online tutorials - directing them so is not the same as simply saying "google it".

RE: Hand-holding vs "Google it"?

Sometimes it's easier to have someone study it, condense it, and present it to at least get a foundation to build on.

Pamela K. Quillin, P.E.
Quillin Engineering, LLC
NSPE-CO, Central Chapter
Dinner program: http://nspe-co.org/events.php

RE: Hand-holding vs "Google it"?

Instead of commenting on the original post, I'll suggest that ParabolicTet simply google the concept, and see what others have to say about it.

RE: Hand-holding vs "Google it"?

banghead jeez, just ask Alexa and be done with it.

RE: Hand-holding vs "Google it"?

http://www.nationalsoftskills.org/not-surprising-t... provides some insights into what a company needs of their employees to be successful:

In an article in today’s Washington Post written by Valerie Strauss, The surprising thing Google learned about its employees –and what it means for today’s students, the Post explains what Google learned about its employees through their own research on hiring, firing, and promotion data accumulated since the company’s founding in 1998. This results of this research project, called Project Oxygen, shocked everyone by concluding that among the eight most important qualities of Google’s top employees, STEM skills came in dead last.

The other seven qualities were all soft skills and include:

Being a good coach
Communication skills
Possessing insights into others and different values and points of view
Empathy toward one’s colleagues
Critical thinking
Problem solving
Drawing conclusions (making connections across complex ideas)

The OP would do well to see how they score on this scale.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

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