The Bitter  Network Administrator

                                                A Website Dedicated to Computer Professional...and some not so Professional

Dumb Users, Who is to Blame?
by Graham Parks

We all have fun laughing at the dumber antics of our network users. We talk amongst ourselves boasting that our users our dumber than anyone else's. There are even web sites dedicated to these stories, see www.techtales.com But who is to blame for this? I point the finger at the bosses and to a lesser extent, government. There cannot be many businesses in the west that do not own at least one computer. Many bosses will rightly claim that it is essential to the success of their business. But when it comes to training, all too often it is minimal and sometimes almost non-existent. I'm sure that I am not the only one who has met users who have been taught by a colleague the bare minimum required. Press button 1 to this, press button 2 to do that, now off you go you are on your own. Hardly surprising that users become instant lusers.

    Where training does occur it usually covers a single application, rarely any aspect of the underlying OS. Hence you might find, as I have, users who although reasonably competent in Word have no idea about building a directory structure to file their documents in a sensible fashion. I have seen users who store every document in a single directory. And that directory is the one set as the default save path in Word.

"Where do you store your documents?" I once asked.
"On my computer" was the answer.

I kid you not, the user had no idea where the documents were stored.

Of course, it is the I.T. support people who eventually have to deal with this.

    So, lean on the boss and try to get a course introduced to teach the basics. This should cover logging in/out, password changing, password choosing, creating directories, moving and copying files, renaming files etc. This course would also be a good opportunity to introduce users to the organizations security policy. You do have one, don't you?

    Obviously there are costs involved to the business, but the benefits should be obvious. Higher skill levels mean less calls to the Helpdesk, increased security awareness and users able to to carry out simple tasks with ease. In my experience many organizations have cut back on training in the last ten years. I expect these organizations are the same ones that complain that they cannot find suitably skilled new employees. But that is just me being cynical. I have met many people who have to use a computer at work who have never had any sort of formal training on one. Not good enough!

Organizations today want highly skilled new recruits, governments talk of lifetime learning, but I do not see nearly enough evidence that either are doing that much about it. Having said that I have just found this article, http://www.shout99.com/contractors/showarticle.pl?id=12591&n=210 which shows the British Government agrees that not enough is being done.

If you would like to contact Graham, you may do so at GrahamParks@thenetworkadministrator.com

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