India’s Tekno Point Strengthens Tech Trainers’ Skills with CompTIA CTT+

India’s vibrant tech sector depends heavily on the talents of its IT trainers. But for years, India’s enterprises, including companies like Dell, Philips and HP, could not easily secure locally taught, vendor-neutral courses to sharpen trainers’ instructional skills and processes. Then CompTIA authorized partner Tekno Point began offering CompTIA Certified Technical Trainer (CTT+) classes.

In 2009, Tekno Point Founder and CEO Himanshu Mody spent $6,000 to travel from Mumbai, India, to Dallas, Texas, in order to earn the CompTIA CTT+ certification that Adobe Systems required of Adobe-certified instructors.

Tekno Point had provided technical training to corporations, colleges and individuals since 2000, and Mody had worked in the training business for more than 13 years. Yet Mody found that the CTT+ training, then unavailable in India, helped improve his own instructional skills.

“Being a subject matter expert does not necessarily make you a good trainer,” Himanshu said. “The CTT+ gave me a frame of reference for thinking about training as a subject: the psychology of adult learners, how to prepare for the training, how to deliver training to address different learners and how to evaluate your performance as a trainer.”

In 2011, CompTIA partnered with Tekno Point to offer CompTIA CTT+ training through Tekno Point training centers in Mumbai and Bangalore.

CTT+ has become a preferred and, in some cases, mandatory prerequisite for many vendor-specific technical trainer credentials such as Microsoft Certified Trainer and Adobe-certified Trainer, said Pradipto Chakrabarty, CompTIA’s regional director in India.

“Many trainers are taking the CTT+ to become better trainers,” he said. “Also some organizations in India, such as Dell, Philips and HP, are either mandating or in process of mandating CTT+ for their technical trainers.”

In early 2013, Tekno Point began offering a four-day course to help prepare trainers for the CompTIA CTT+ exams. To be certified in CTT+, a candidate must pass the computer-based CTT+ test and also submit either a demonstration video for the CompTIA CTT+ Classroom Trainer designation or a recorded online presentation for the CompTIA CCT+ Virtual Trainer designation.

Tekno Point’s early CTT+ students pursued the CTT+ Classroom Trainer designation, but Mody expects interest in the CTT+ Virtual Trainer certification to increase, given improvements to India’s Internet infrastructure and the increased acceptance of virtual training.

From Subject Matter Experts to Expert Trainers

Teaching CTT+ classes to trainers “is a very amazing experience,” Himanshu said. “Most of them struggle with how to evaluate their own performance or how to address different learning styles in the classroom.”

“The CTT+ helps them really understand how successful training also involves specific instructional methods, not just knowledge of the subject matter,” he said.

Pushpanath Dasika and Shaveen Kumar, employed with Dell Inc. in Bangalore, both report that Tekno Point’s CTT+ class and earning the CTT+ Classroom Trainer credentials sharpened their training skills and improved their teaching performance.

Pushpanath already had eight years experience as a trainer, and Shaveen almost two, when their manager required that they and their fellow trainers in Dell’s Bangalore, Johannesburg, South Africa and Glasgow, Scotland locations earn CTT+.

“Before CTT+, I was never formally trained how to train,” said Shaveen, an enterprise technical support analyst who occasionally trains fellow employees on Dell products and Windows OS. “It changed my style of training.” Tekno Point’s CTT+ class taught Kumar how to fully prepare to train, how to communicate with students to set expectations and eliminate distractions and how to verify student learning.

Prior to the CTT+, Shaveen would end training sessions by asking students if they had any questions. “I’d assume they understood the topic,” he said.

Now Shaveen asks scenario-based questions at the end of each topic to immediately determine whether students understand the material. “I feel my students understand the subjects better,” he said.

Pushpanath, a senior technical analyst for Dell’s global support and deployment, annually teaches approximately 500 Dell employees and third-party customer service agents about Dell hardware, software from Microsoft, Linux and others and Dell’s internal systems. He teaches via in-person classes, Web conferences and also online training.

Thanks to the CTT+ class and exam, Pushpanath became better at establishing student expectations for training and more consistently gathers pre- and post-assessment student data that help him improve his training delivery. His students’ post-training assessment scores and his teacher evaluation scores have improved as a result.

Another benefit: “CTT+ is respected within the company,” Pushpanath said. “If you’ve earned it, people look to you for advice and ask for your suggestions. They value the certification.”

Creating More Highly Skilled Instructors

CompTIA’s Pradipto Chakrabarty expects Tekno Point to become a CTT+ training resource for CompTIA partners and major enterprises in India. “In past, we did not have a single partner specifically on CTT+ here,” he said. “We can now bridge this gap with Tekno Point.”

For his part, Himanshu Mody seeks to make CTT+ available to more individual trainers and also to businesses and educational institutions seeking to qualify their trainers. “Finding good trainers and instructors is always a challenge,” he said. “The CTT+ will help the subject matter expert be a better trainer.”

“CTT+ helps me to do my best to improve the quality of training, and that’s a huge satisfaction to me personally,” Himanshu said.  “I spent $6,000 to get the CTT+. Now trainers in India don’t have to struggle to figure it out.”

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