This short article covers the reasons why I decided to start Web Safety Guru computer training.
There already appeared to be a place for one to one computer training aimed at seniors.
Computing was increasingly becoming a post-retirement hobby or a way of staying in touch with family and friends.
Then Covid changed the world and changed the way we use computers forever.
This forced still more people onto computers for the first time, so the need for online
computer training became greater than ever.
Having worked in IT for a long time, I understood many of the things that really frustrate regular computer users when faced with a problem:
a lack of proper instructions and explanations, technology constantly changing - often for no apparent reason,
a general apprehension regarding the dangers of the internet.
So I resolved to devise online computer training designed to reassure customers. I'd put them in control of the pace of the
lessons, and we'd look at the areas that mattered most of to them. And I'd aim to deliver this information in plain English, not jargon.
How the way we use computers has changed since Covid
The Covid pandemic has changed people's behaviour in many ways. We are performing tasks such as working, shopping and even socialising
over the internet, more so than ever before.
This change has been even more of a culture shock for older people why may have not previously considered online retail or banking, let
alone Zoom calls.
I have noticed, speaking to family and friends, that many people have computers while not feeling entirely comfortable with them. They may
have forked out for a nice piece of kit, which they don't feel massively confident about using. So they end up playing Spider Solitaire
rather than getting the full range of benefits that their computer offers them.
New technology can be intimidating, and many people in my industry - the IT industry - are not always the best explainers.
Techies have a reputation for not being overly approachable and, when you do get to ask them a technical question, they answer it in a way
that is not easily understood. So some computer users go further into their shell when they encounter a problem.
In addition to this, there is a whole industry geared to conning people out of their hard-earned savings. Innocent people can lose
thousands of pounds as the results of computer hacks, phishing emails, identity theft, ransomware and numerous other computer scams.
A gap in the market? The need for online computer training.
My google searching has shown competitors who doing of what I intend to do, but not the whole thing. Yes there is general computer
tuition, yes business offer courses desinged to make their customers aware of computer threats. But the gap I intend to fill is
this: a friendly and approachable IT professional who will work one to one with customers and address their concerns with examples
and interactive exercises while (and this is the most important bit) explaining things in plain, comprehensible English. While
the Web Safety Guru material follows a basic script, the pace and precise content we cover will depend on the customer. For example
if a customer never uses social media or never uses the internet outside their home, we can skip those sections and concentrate on
other priorities. Alternatively, if a customer has an extremely lax password regime, or has active viruses on their computer, then we'll
spend much more time on the issues of passwords or malware.
You call the shots. Tuition at your pace and about the issues that interest you most
The Web Safety Guru training is designed to be flexible and customer driven. I originally designed the main course to be delivered
in the customer's house. Covid changed all that. While the Home Visit option remains in existence (subject to government restrictions and the
general Covid situation), I rewrote the course so that it would work online and be delivered by Zoom. This changed the course in some ways,
more slides and less talking from me. But more examples that I could show by sharing my screen.
The Covid crisis also enabled me to come up with two spin-off courses, both designed specifically for Zoom. The Email masterclass lets
me show the student a whole set of emails that I have collected for the purpose of showing the telltale signs of scams. I would never dream of
sending these emails to a client, imagine the risk if one was clicked by accident. So Zoom tuition allows me to demonstrate a lot more, and in
a way that is entirely risk free to the customer. The second spin-off course concentrates around the risks of Social Media. I demonstrate
the things you can do to protect your privacy and online reputation. I'll also explain some of the things you should NEVER do on social
media. And I can do all this without needing to see the customer's own Facebook account.
Every problem is an opportunity and the Covid crisis allowed me to improve both the range and the quality of the material I can discuss
with my customers. That being said, some customers will prefer Home Visits so I'm keeping that option available.