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I started a new job where the first 7 weeks are training. I’ve never had a job with such formal training where we have our own computer lab and listen to the instructor talk. I’m beginning to get very stressed out and unhappy. Classes are 7 hours long with a 1 hour break, so we listen to lecture for at least 3.5 hours. This is too much for me. Every school I’m aware of has most classes 1 hour long and maximum 3. The instructor has been saying we’ve been behind since day 1 and has told us this is why he’s rushing. A possible reason we are behind is because some students in class ask a lot of (often tangential) questions. I find this puts the instructor in a bad mood and discourages me from asking questions as I don’t want to take more time.

We have several quizzes each day where the score is recorded, and now he’s started putting a time limit on the quizzes. The quizzes vary in the percent you needed to pass. Though this is a technical job, the instructor’s background is in sales and has a tendency not to answer questions straight. When someone asked what difference passing or failing a quiz makes, he gave an indirect answer and said “no one’s expecting you to get 100% on all the quizzes”. I heard the instructor mentioning in the elevator, this is supposed to be the easy part and we shouldn't be stressed out right now.

Also he has started randomly calling on people in class to answer questions, and I find this very stressful.

Things I’ve considered

  • Asking the instructor to split one big break into several spread out. I spoke with another student and he said he didn’t think this was a good idea.
  • Speaking to the instructor with my concerns. The thing about this is I never have a minute alone with him and he’s always in the classroom with 30 other students.
  • Seeing if some of the material is accessible from home so I can study it there. Currently the expectation is we only study in class.

In general, is there anything I should know about going to class on the job vs. going to class at school? Why do some companies have mass training events like this and other's don't? Is it a way to save money by training 30 people at once and only taking time out of 1 person's schedule to do it?

TL;DR I’m finding training very stressful and not retaining much. My learning style does not go well with the instructors teaching style and training is 7 weeks.

closed as off-topic by gnat, Chris E, Michael Grubey, Masked Man, Mister Positive May 22 '17 at 11:25

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  • Don't put your "TL;DR" in the middle of the text. I am assuming the "Things I've considered" is not part of the "TL;DR", but if it is, that makes your "TL;DR" longer than the text that it tries to summarize. – Masked Man May 22 '17 at 2:50
  • If this is too stressful for you how are you going to manage working 8 hours or more a day? This is way less stressful than the world of deadlines and requirements changes, etc. This is the real world, people don't make allowances for you because it isn't your preference. – HLGEM May 22 '17 at 14:36
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Training often just exposes you to things without expecting that you'd be able to work on it completely without guidance once you're done.

Some companies have fairly broad training, even though most employees don't need the exact details of a lot of what they were told in their day-to-day job (but just having some idea of what else is going on could help them do their job).

Even for things you will be working with every day, you should not expect training to make you a master of anything, but rather to give you a foundation to work from so you can hit the ground running without needing every other thing to be explained to you in detail.

If the above doesn't reassure you, some options:

  • Just hang in there.

    The purpose of the quizzes should be to make sure your learning is on track, so while you may feel like you're not taking in much, your quiz results should tell them how well you're doing, and it's their responsibility to let you know if your results are not on par or to change up your training appropriately. Perhaps you're doing better than you think.

    While this doesn't seem likely (especially not if they don't directly tell you there's a problem at any point), I suppose there's a chance they're using quiz results to determine your suitability in the company, and you could get let go over it (check your contract maybe), so, just to be on the safe side, you could...

  • Talk to the instructor.

    There is often an opportunity to ask questions before, after or during the break (even if there might be others around).

    You might want opt for getting explicit clarification on what I said above - are you expected to memorise all of this or it is expected to just get a broad understanding during training and get more comfortable with the (relevant) specifics on the job.

    If he indicates that you're not on the right track, you could certain try to propose something simple that would help you (seeing if you can read up on things at home, although there's a good chance this request will be denied) or possibly everyone (maybe having one or two more short breaks - I wouldn't expect a lot of people to retain focus throughout a 3.5-hour lecture).

  • Talk to your fellow students.

    If they're also struggling with the same things, that should be a sign that things are probably going roughly as expected for you.

  • Do your own research.

    This is not applicable if the training is teaching you things specific to the company.

    But if you're being taught something more general, e.g. a programming language, doing some tutorials or reading up on it in your free time can certainly be considered to help you along your way or just put your mind at ease.

    You wouldn't even have to talk to the instructor about this, but you should avoid spending too much of your free time on this, given everything stated above (and because it's your free time).

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It may very well be that the instructor is poor at teaching and lacks patience and the ability to explain things. Unfortunately, there's not much you can do about that. To a large extent you should be glad to receive any training at all. Many orgs simply don't invest in that anymore and follow a "sink or swim" plan for new hires. Believe me, life can be a lot more harsh for new hires than a grueling training program.

7 weeks, however, is a very LONG time. Presumably, you have materials at your disposal. You have the weekends and evenings to study and catch up on things which are unclear. Try to make peace with the subject matter and the pace of the training.

If you somehow have the impression that there's an expectation to "only study in class" that impression is incorrect. The actual expectation is for you to master the material being taught in the class in any way that you can. For some people that will mean studying many extra hours to practice and achieve mastery. Quiz scores, unless there's a stated failing grade, are just a feedback mechanism to help you understand what you need to focus on-- its OK to get a low score on a quiz if you follow that up with remedial study. The instructor will use the scores in aggregate to get a picture of where people are having trouble.

  • Nice thinking though the study materials are only accessible from company's intranet. – thisisaname May 21 '17 at 21:03
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Why do some companies have mass training events like this and other's don't? Is it a way to save money by training 30 people at once and only taking time out of 1 person's schedule to do it?

Larger companies often have many people starting around the same time.

It only makes sense to conduct group training - saves time and money and ensures consistency.

I worked in a smaller software startup that did the same thing. All new hires for the month attended class together. We all learned the company history and got "indoctrinated" into the culture of the company. In addition the founder joined us for an hour talking to the newbies (he was rather charismatic). We learned what each other did, learned company history and the role of each department.

It was a very positive experience for me.

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