General Employee Training

Oh my god. I just had to take my GET1 again today. Every national lab requires training for all employees that work there; hence the name. At the end of the training, one takes a multiple choice test. This training has to be renewed every 3 years, so mine was up again this month.

Anyway, the training “class” used to be nothing more than a booklet of PowerPoint slides. It was pretty dumb, but you could skim through the book, take the test, and be on your way.

Now it’s all changed. Gone is the booklet, in comes the multimedia extravaganza. Otherwise known as a PowerPoint presentation with a narrative. I had a couple beefs with this format:

  1. It took too damn long. I had to sit there and listen for a good 45 minutes. I could have been through the same content in printed form (screen or otherwise) in about 20 minutes.

  2. Unlike a good presentation, the voiceover usually didn’t mention the points in a given slide, but instead brought up points that were semi related. Thus, one was forced to either listen or read. Nevermind that fact that when the audio was following the slide, they were often out of synch with each other, kind of like watching a film strip with the audio one frame behind.

  3. The slides themselves were poorly organized. There was one sequence talking about the ethical use of computers, and then bam, a slide on precautions one should take when traveling abroad, only to return back to ethical use of computers.2

  4. Since the presentation progressed from slide to slide on its own, often times it advanced way too quickly for me read the full slide.

  5. The content of the audio track was quite poor. The lady reading the script didn’t go back to correct any of the numerous mistakes she made, nor did were her lines timed right. More than once, her audio was cut off as we moved to the next slide, or there was a long pause (as in a good 10 seconds) at the beginning of a slide before she started speaking. I also heard phones3 ringing in the background. Several times.

How stupid can you get? Then again, on my way out of the testing room, I did see a training booklet called Laser Pointer Safety. Wow.

1 General Employee Training.
2 I heard at least 2 distinct ring tones.
3 To be fair, when I went to the internal Human Resources website and downloaded the training presentation, the slides were not in this order. Something must have gotten munged in the copy on the training computer.

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