It doesn't matter how much new hardware and software has been purchased, its only going to perform to its peak if those using it have been trained to a good standard. We've rounded up the top five pitfalls to avoid when it comes to IT training for staff.

You just rolled out Microsoft Windows Vista companywide only to find your help desk flooded with calls. Or you spent hours with the mobile sales group going over the basics of laptop and wireless security only to discover team members still opening rogue email attachments and stumbling over password protocols.

Sound familiar? The problem could be in your training.

It's all too natural for IT to cast blame on end-users when new or upgraded systems hit snafus, but rather than pointing fingers, IT should instead consider its own role in training miscues, experts advise.

While IT's relationship with end-user training has always been ambivalent, the pressure is on to get users comfortable and productive on new tech systems, thanks to a corporate emphasis on information security, compliance, and return on investment to justify costly hardware and software rollouts.

In that light, a good training program can count as a competitive advantage, but management isn't always sold on the business benefits of effective tech training. "Companies don't yet fully value training," says David S Murphy, founder and membership director of nonprofit International Association of Information Technology Trainers (ITrain) and a professor of English and computer science at the University of Phoenix and Howard Community College in Columbia, USA. "I've yet to come across a commercial company that embraces training as a requisite value-added service as opposed to an optional value-added service."

Worried that your IT training falls into that latter category? We talked to IT managers, in-house and third-party trainers, industry advocates, and academics to uncover the top five mistakes technology professionals make when training end-users.

None of these mess-ups are fatal, we're happy to report. With an open mind and some targeted adjustments, IT managers and trainers can achieve greater success with their end-users and a little peace of mind for themselves.

NEXT PAGE: How a good training program can help

  1. Common pitfalls for IT trainers
  2. You didn't plan for training upfront
  3. You're out of tune with your audience
  4. You didn't follow standards training models
  5. You're training out of business context
  6. You forgot to forge business partnerships