How much will it cost to learn to use a new survey software system?
As a software vendor, I am often surprised how fo…Read more
Learning how to use a new software product can often be frustrating. At MRDC Software, we like to be up front and tell you just how much effort will be needed on your part to go through the familiarisation and learning process. In fact, what this guide will offer is a breakdown of the likely time taken to become familiar with software, the likely time to become proficient and the time it takes to become an expert. It will also cover what MRDC Software offers in terms of training and what resources are available.
Snap comes with an intuitive user interface so it is generally easy to learn. However, it does cover a wide range of tasks from designing your questionnaire, deploying your questionnaire to running tables and charts, making data available online and smart reporting. That’s a lot to learn, so finding all the things you need to complete your first project can take some time, particularly if you are carrying out all or most of those types of task.
We usually find that after completing one or two projects, you will be quite proficient unless you are exploring or using new parts of the platform. The powerful smart reporting tools take the most time to become familiar with. Most Snap users become experts in the types of work they usually do, but if you have varying needs, there is plenty to learn.
To help you get started, MRDC Software offers a free online orientation session, which is designed to help you with basic tasks and understanding how all the parts of the process fit together. You will also find that there are large number of videos and documents that explain how to use the various features. Once you have mastered the basics, you may need occasional support to learn how to get day to day problems that may arise, but this will generally be easy to understand.
The main core of the QPSMR system comes in the QPSMR Insight package. QPSMR Insight is intuitive to use and takes you through questionnaire preparation, data entry and tabulations in a methodical way. Questionnaire preparation is quite easy to understand although some tasks like randomisation can take a little more time. Tables are generally straightforward, but handling data can be confusing at first, particularly if you are editing or updating data from another file.
There is a selection of videos that help you to get started and show you how to handle the less intuitive data handling. We generally find that users are quickly self-sufficient after completing one or two projects.
Clients who purchase the CATI add-on module generally report that it is easy to learn how to progress from QPSMR Insight to QPSMR CATI. There are some new controls that need to be learnt as well as the supervisor function but the tools are generally consistent in their use. Data handling may need to be fully understood by CATI users as there is a greater likelihood that questionnaire changes, for example, may need to be incorporated carefully.
QPSMR Companion comes with a range of tools to improve productivity when producing a questionnaire. For some users, who are proficient in using QPSMR Insight, this has appeared to be confusing, but heavier users of QPSMR Insight have welcomed the additional features and have found it worthwhile learning how to use them.
MRDCL is not aimed at casual users; it is aimed at data processing professionals who are comfortable with using a scripting language. The speed at which someone will learn to use MRDCL will vary from person to person and will be dependent on whether they have used a similar product, come from a programming background or have little or no relevant experience.
For someone with little or no relevant experience, the learning curve will be quite steep. For those with some experience, it is generally reported that learning goes in stages. Basic orientation and familiarisation with the syntax will take 3-5 days’ practice. Learning how to use the short cut tools in MRDCL may take longer and more practice, but will vary from person to person.
Former users of Quantum tend to report that the basic language feels more difficult than Quantum but that its consistency means that after initial orientation progress is quite quick.
MRDCL also comes with the advanced productivity feature EPS (Excel Productivity Scripting). This allows templates to be built to automate repetitive or complex tasks. Programming EPS is quite complex, but, if there are a team of users, only one person needs to understand how to program EPS, the others can just benefit from the templates that are developed.
MRDCL is well supported by introductory and topic based videos which go through simple and complex processes thoroughly.
The level of work that you are using MRDCL for, the skills of the MRDCL users and the desire to improve productivity will all affect how much time is needed to move from proficiency to expert status. As with any powerful language, no one knows everything.
MRDC Software provides a free online session for orientation, but most users find that they become proficient very quickly.
Listening247 needs little or no training as much of the process is providing a service that harvests the data and uses a model so that artificial intelligence techniques can provide data which reflect sentiment and emotion.
Listening247 is often supplied with an online or desktop dashboard so that you can drill down into the data or find the actual posts. This takes some orientation but it is largely intuitive.
We are, of course, happy to put together a full training programme that meets your exact needs. I think that this is important as each client has different priorities, goals and skills.
If you need any more help and advice, please use the ‘You ask, we answer’ feature on our website. Please tell us about your experience of learning how to use our software products by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would genuinely like to know regardless of whether it is positive or negative.
You will find a range of videos for our products at www.mrdcsoftware.com/library.