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  1. #1
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    Need to sort training material that we offer to clients in a database.

    I am very new to this and need help please.

    Our company is planning to develop a database that would contain all our training material/tests/reading material/etc. and I need advice how to develop this.

    Our company works in the healthcare field and we accredit hospitals, etc. We do a number of training sessions, mostly for our clients. The contracts and the types of presentations vary.

    The core message that we convey to clients is the improvement of the quality in hospitals, etc. For this, we train clients how to do a self-evaluation using our instrument, we do a validation survey and eventually a final survey to assess if they meet our standards. (These criteria that we measure are in excess of 3000, but grouped into departments e.g. pharmacy, radiology, etc)


    This training involves orientation to our product at healthcare facilities and training on actual self assessments of their facilities. We also give lectures on quality improvement, how to develop policies, auditing, etc.

    Every client obviously has different needs, but this is what we normally do if we train staff at a facility:


    Provide pre-training reading material
    Sometimes a pre-test
    Training for 3-5 days, which will include a powerpoint presentation, case studies and mock surveys where the trainees actually do physical scoring in a hospital.
    Post-training test
    Post-training feedback to be filled in by the trainees
    Analysis of the results.


    What I would like to do is to set up a database with all these components. I was contemplating if I should arrange a folder per type of facility/contract and then include the above mentioned information in it, or should I group all the presentations together, all the tests together, etc.


    Are there examples that you/someone would like to share, would MS Access be a possibility, etc.


    Any help/ examples will be much appreciated

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    It is hard to know how to begin to answer such a big open ended question.

    would MS Access be a possibility,
    Probably yes

    But building a solution in Access would require a vast amount of detailed analysis of exactly what you do, and what outcomes you want from the database.
    The first step is to develop a model of the underlying data that needs to be stored, then move on to ways you want this information presented and the processes that need to be followed.

    From your brief description it sounds like the sort of task that would be a serious undertaking for even a very experienced Access developer.

    So if you want to do it yourself (and it sounds like you don't have a background in either Access or databases in general) you should start by learning something about Access and relational database design.

    There are loads of online. Here are a few examples:
    Regards
    John



  3. #3
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    Hi John

    You are spot-on. I do not have any knowledge of Access or Databases.

    At this stage, I have numerous folders under "Professional Development" and need to sort them out as a first step.

    I do not know if there are other possibilities/examples to sort all this data, which might be easier?

    Here is one example:



    You will see there are folders for Presentations; Feedback after training, Tests; etc. If I open "Presentations Introductions...", then this is what I find:



    Should I just clean up as a start, or learn and try Access?

    For instance- For every presentation, one will need an attendance list, icebreakers, the PP slides, the "mock survey" documents, feedback, tests, etc. So it would be nice to have the ability to set up all the training for a session and then link a specific PP lecture, a specific test, etc to that training session.

    Your thoughts on this please

    Thanks

    Albie

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    Hi Albie

    As John stated in his post - this is a serious undertaking. It will require a fair amount of expertise. having built some very large systems in Access im sure it will do the job - at least for now. If it needs to be upgraded then at least the hard part - analysis and design will have been done.

    Personally I think you should call in some experienced help. Either they build the whole lot - or work with you - so you learn along the way. it may be much cheaper than the long learning curve you will need to acheive the best results.

    cheers
    PaulG

  5. #5
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    Thanks Paul

    It sounds like a good choice. As far as you know, are there easier ways/examples at least for a start to sort things out, or should I just keep the content in the folders and clean them up and then go a professional route? There are no other programmes available that would be able to help me do this, as IT guys charge a massive amount!

    Thanks for the reply
    Albie

  6. #6
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by avz10 View Post
    Thanks Paul
    IT guys charge a massive amount!
    Albie,

    You have to look at what the IT guys charge not as an expense but as an investment in your business just like a building, furniture, classrooms, etc. You need to balance the cost of their work against the expected increase in your revenue attainable by allowing your clients and/or yourself to easily access this information. Start by figuring out how many hours you spend hunting for information you know is there but just can't find, especially while you have a prospective client on the phone waiting! Now multiply that times your hourly rate and the prospect of lost business. It should not take long to see that the investment in a good IT firm can pay a very good return on the investment. IMHO.
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

    PowerShell & VBA Rule!

    My Systems: Desktop Specs
    Laptop Specs

  7. #7
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    Hi Albie
    Retired Geek makes a very valid point about investment. The pain is not the cost - it is more the effort involved in finding a development partner to work with.

    Any developer / application designer will start by asking a lot of questions - as they need to sort out what your "system" needs to really achieve. This is not always obvious when you are first given a brief.

    A good system requires close collaboration between the admin side - defining the needs and expected results - and the technical side - creating the actual structure / user interface forms / reports etc.

    (sometimes both sides can be the same person - so you need to wear 2 hats and view the problems from each perspective)

    It is most important that you start with a clear idea of what you need to achieve - as a broad view - and then details can be sorted out as the project develops.

    some homework . .

    Your image showed many folders - with I assume many documents inside. Sadly the tree structure of folders is only 2 dimensional - so while it works for simple filing it is obviously not sufficient to control all your documents.

    To catalogue these documents - look at a large sample of documents and ask yourself - what attributes does each document have . .
    is it a presentation
    a reply
    who is associated with it
    etc etc etc

    make a list of the as many "attributes" as you can find
    now . . is there a pattern . . do they repeat across many documents . . most likely . . yes.

    so here is a possible database senario - not a definitive answer . . but a starting point

    create a table . . tbl_DOCUMENT
    Create fields in the table to store the basic information

    ( I use all UPPERCASE to name my fields - hangover from my days of writing cobol code in the 70s - I find it easier to distinguish field names from other reserved words in code - I also use prefixes to show the source table and keep each field name unique within a project )

    DOC_KEY . . autonumber - unique key to identify each document
    DOC_TITLE
    DOC_DESCRIPTION
    DOC_HYPERLINK . . hyperlink to a folder/file location
    DOC_DATEIN . . date document created
    DOC_CREATED_BY
    you will certainly have more fields . .

    while this table defines the basic details - where each field can only have 1 bit of info per document - it does not have the attributes - these are best kept in a seperate table as each document will have many atttributes

    tbl_DOC_ATTRIBUTES
    DA_KEY . . autonumber
    DA_DOC_KEY . . link key to a document
    DA_AT_KEY . . link to attribute types table . . see below
    DA_BUS_KEY . . link to a business record - could be client / or some other "business" associated with the document
    DA_COMMENT . . obvious

    again more fields may be relevent.

    the tbl_ATTRIBUTE_TYPES table would hold a list of the various attribute types you have found . . see above.
    TA_KEY . .autonumber
    TA_ATTRIBUTE . . a short title
    TA_DESCRIPTION . . optional description


    the tbl_BUSINESS table would hold details of relevent businesses /contacts etc. .

    BUS_KEY . . autonumber
    BUS_NAME
    BUS_ADDRESS
    BUS_ . . . etc

    Documents you create would need to logged into the system.
    you create one record per document and at least 1 attribute record

    The power of the system then comes from how much automation of processes can be achieved.

    This is where the expertise of your IT consultants comes in.

    A thought . . if your documents are catalogued correctly - then your folder structure could be as simple as a monthly or weekly folder - and documents stored by their creation date. Your hyperlink field will allow you to jump to the relevent document after an easy search in you system.

    Hope this helps
    cheers
    Paul G

  8. #8
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    This will certainly help!

    Thanks for all the advice

  9. #9
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    Exclamation Sorting training material in a platform/portal with SharePoint 2010

    Since the previous posts, I had time at least to sort out things to some extent.
    This is what I had in mind, but I am open for any suggestions/any other structure that might help:


    These are the different categories/departments that provide training, except for “Generic documents” that would include blank forms e.g. attendance registers, etc.

    Per category/department this will sub-headings as seen e.g. pre-training reading material, participants, curricula,

    In Powerpoint presentations, these will be different groupings e.g. Standard Interpretation training which will include different trainees/contracts

    And under “General” there will be some examples of presentations.

    As someone advised me to use SharePoint, I have started in vigour- reading about SharePoint, YouTube videos, etc.; BUT when I open my SharePoint 2010, the images that I see in the tutorials are just not the same.
    We have MS SharePoint Workspace installed on our computers, so it does not look if I can practice developing the central "server" or portal on my. Is this correct? This Portal will be hosted at our Head Office, but I would like to create an initial example on my laptop.
    If I cannot use the SharePoint workspace, what MS SharePoint software should I need?
    And then, a last issue- if this is portal is hosted on our server, I suppose we can access the portal both internally and externally-but the size of the PP presentations will be too big to transfer externally. Is this correct?
    This is my suggestion. But I would think that there might be numerous of these as examples somewhere??

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