Learn What the Data School Learns, my experience.

by Alessandro Costanzo

During this week my fellow cohortians and I have delivered a teaching session open to the public. This initiative is called Learn what the data school learns. It is a recurring event in the Data School, and it has 2 main purposes:

  • To challenge the DSers in public speaking and preparation of the teaching material;
  • To provide a free training session to the public, which may lead to future partnerships for The Information Lab.

The initiative is spread onto 2 days, one dedicated to Tableau, the other one to Alteryx. The days are divided into different sessions, and each of us DSers delivered training on a different topic

The lesson I taught was based on Table Calculations in Tableau. I was the first one to present, due to this I had to deal with several issues occurred during the set-up. Numerous attendees experienced technical issues with their laptop, some had an obsolete version of Tableau, some other had issues in downloading the training material.

On top of that several attendees turned up quite late, this made me wonder if it was appropriate to start or if I should have waited for a bit longer.

Thankfully, Carl was supportive during this time, and suggested me to start revisiting some basics, in order to understand the level of knowledge of the attendees.

Initially, I thought to skip the explanation of these basic topics, because all participants responded positively to my initial questions. Despite that, as Carl helped me notice, it is quite difficult that attendees would be completely honest to admit their lack of knowledge of basic topics, especially when at the beginning of a session when they do not know the rest of the audience.

Recapping those basics subjects helped me to understand the level of knowledge of the attendees, allowing me to adapt the lesson to their needs.

While planning the lesson, I’ve prepared many exercises, gradually increasing the difficulty, just to be prepared in case I would have faced an advanced group of users. Since the group was very heterogeneous, I didn’t have to use them all, instead, I focused on fewer exercises but explained in a more detailed manner.

Once all attendees started to follow me at roughly the same pace, I was able to show examples more easily and to expand my lesson showing tips and tricks of the software.

In conclusion, I think this initiative was really helpful for our training. It really challenged us showing a very common working scenario for our future career as analysts. I think this was probably the hardest task so far (or at least the most mentally stressful), although realising that this was something achievable, gave us a great boost in confidence.

I now look forward to our next challenge, to deliver a similar lesson but through an online webinar, keep following this blog to read my impressions on that too!