Delivering training to the care sector is always a pleasure. The attendees invariably have so little time to learn new skills in their daily routine that they are amongst the most enthusiastic of all groups that I train. I recall one incident were a despondent administrator was so overjoyed when she found she could mail merge the hundreds of name badges she was planning on typing up by hand that she gave me a hug!
One area that I have been involved in recently is in delivering IT training for those that support care workers. Some use desktop PC’s in an office environment, some are more mobile and have laptops, whilst others work from home and may use a variety of devices. There is a lot of investment tied-up in all the equipment they use and probably even more money tied-up in the software that runs on it. Although I have come across some very capable users in my time I would say, more often than not, that all of this expensive computer power is generally under-exploited. Bearing in mind how tight funds are in the care sector this is quite an eye opener for an outsider like me!
What can we do about this? Well, I like to compare a modern computer system to a high-tech garage filled with the most exotic and specialist tools you could imagine. Tools that could be used to perform surgery of any type on any vehicle. All neatly lined up in rows ready for the mechanic to work their magic on the poorly machinery that gets wheeled in for repair. Together with the exotic though are more basic tools that are used on a daily basis – the screwdrivers and hammers if you like. In terms of computers most of us can use these basic tools, but imagine what we could achieve with the more exotic ones.
Microsoft Excel is a very good example of a ‘high-tech garage’. It has over 300 built-in functions for performing the most amazing of operations on your data. How many of these hidden gems actually get used by the majority of users though? In my experience probably less than one percent of them. So that’s 99% sat there doing nothing, day-in, day-out!
In truth many Excel functions are esoteric, and would rarely be required under normal circumstances, but nevertheless there are at least a dozen functions that most users could really benefit from learning as part of their regular toolset. This is what we aim to do on our courses – reveal the hidden gems and unleash the true power of the software that sits on your desktop, just waiting for you to discover it. Power that can help you do your job better, either by saving you effort or making things simpler and easier, or by allowing you to do things you never thought were possible. Excel Function Summary v1_4
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