Whether you’re an IT admin or an MSP managing tech for a bunch of clients, simple user problems can take a huge portion of your time. Maybe someone doesn’t know how to map a network drive, has no clue how to download that “GoToMeeting thing,” or inadvertently downloads ransomware—these issues can make your blood pressure rise as high as your stack of support tickets. Luckily, you can combat common user issues by providing them with resources that will juice-up their tech knowledge. If your users know more, then you will need to attend to fewer basic issues and be able to focus more on the big picture (or on building that cool robot you’ve been hiding under your desk).
Here are some resources you can tap to help your users handle a few of their own problems and keep their systems secure.
YouTube is the go-to for do-it-yourselfers, makers, and anyone who wants to learn to do just about anything. If you’re looking for ways to help your users understand something, there may already be a YouTube video waiting for you to share. YouTube offers thousands of free videos, though you may find it challenging to find videos that are the right blend of educational, informative, and professional. Even though finding videos with the right information might take some effort, once you’ve found them, you can share easily. Some entertaining and informative channels include Linus Tech Tips and Eli the Computer Guy.
Video isn’t the only way for your users to beef up their IT knowledge. Plenty of podcasts are out there that can give busy end-users a way to listen on the go. Like YouTube, the benefit of a podcast is that hundreds of options are available, but podcasts vary in quality, so you may need to spend time getting to know some podcasts and sifting through episodes to find something that will speak to the topics that will help your users. This article has a great rundown of tech-focused podcasts.
A handful of universities give free public access to their online courses, which means anybody can access some of the same courses as people attending universities. Many of the online courseware sites let you filter by topic and subtopic, so you can hunt down high-quality information relevant to the users you’re hoping to educate. Some popular options that feature courses from accredited universities include MIT Open Courseware, EdX, and Academic Earth.
For the average user, a forum might be a tricky place to find information (why use a forum when you can ask your MSP?), but for more capable users willing to do some digging to solve problems on their own, forums can be a great option. A few popular forums geared less toward IT personnel and more toward the average user include Tom’s Hardware, reddit.com/r/techsupport, and CNET.
Paid Training Options
For training that’s more in-depth and structured, there are a few great paid options that offer a blend between high-quality production and informative content. Sites like these gives users access to thousands of professional, well-crafted videos on a variety of subjects—not just videos related to IT and information security. A few popular options are Lynda, Skillshare, and Pluralsight, and each of them offers free trials that are worth taking advantage of as you evaluate options.
If you can’t find what you need, you can always build content yourself. We dig deeper into how to create educational content in another piece, but the skinny is that, between screen recording software and the smartphone in your pocket, there are lots of ways to make quick-and-simple videos that can help your users understand anything you want to show them. By putting extra effort toward educating users, you will start seeing fewer support tickets on the easy stuff, which frees up more time for you to build that cool LEGO Millennium Falcon.