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Training the Public in Internet Use

Learn how to provide effective Internet training at your nonprofit, community technology center, or public library

Training the Public in Internet Use
Elliot Harmon and Sarah Washburn - April 12, 2012
Learn from seasoned trainers how to teach your constituents to use the Internet, be it in classes or in side-by-side sessions.

At a public library or computer lab, getting users in the door is relatively easy. The hard part is teaching them how to find the information they need. Some organizations rely primarily on a classroom format, while others focus more on side-by-side mentoring. Many factors go into finding the right mix to serve a lab's clientele most effectively.

Guiding new Internet users can be a daunting challenge. Fortunately, there are a lot of useful resources online, ranging from tips and encouragement from fellow guides to full-fledged classroom curriculum.

TechSoup recently completed a study of Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) grantees. In talking with public libraries and community technology centers and learning their stories, we've assembled a list of resources for training Internet users and teaching technology skills.

Learn from BTOP Grantees


Curriculum Resources for Trainers

  • Connect Your Community has training materials on a variety of tech subjects.
  • One Community (a nonprofit BTOP grantee) has created Creative-Commons licensed curriculum to support its training programs.
  • Get Connected contains information on Internet speed, online services, browsers and everything you need to know to get properly connected and access the Internet.
  • CETF (a nonprofit BTOP grantee) created easy-to-use resources focused on guiding new broadband adopters through the process, from understanding technology to signing up for service. While some of the resources are California-based, most are applicable to those living outside the state.
  • Review of Technology Training Resources from TechSoup for Libraries looks at a variety of tools and materials.
  • CTN has collected resources from around the web and technology world. Find resources to help with every aspect of managing a computer center, including providing coursework for patrons, organizing the space, acquiring equipment, teaching classes, and managing volunteers.
  • Common Craft offers three-minute videos to explain a variety of technology concepts in a format that's simple and easy for any audience to understand.
  • LearningExpress Library offers the practice tests, exercises, skill-building courses, eBooks, and information you need to achieve the results you want — at school, at work, or in life.
  • Whether you're into digital photography, web design and development, motion graphics, or just need to brush up on Excel, you can learn all the software skills you need to gain a competitive edge with online tutorials.
  • offers free web programming tutorials and tips on HTML, JavaScript, Flash, SQL, web graphics, web hosting, web promotion, email programs, web master resources, web development articles, Internet basics and much more!
  • Library Tech Trainers Sharing Resources and Expertise is a list of trainer resources from TechSoup for Libraries.

TechSoup Products for Trainers

  • Online conferencing: GoToMeeting and GoToWebinar from Citrix Online
  • Audio and web conferencing: ReadyTalk
  • The Learning Institute certificate coursework: SNPO

TechSoup Products for Student Use

Image: Teacher, Shutterstock

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