#44 What we’ve learned from teaching analytics

The Measure Pod
The Measure Pod
#44 What we’ve learned from teaching analytics

This week Dan and Dara talk about what they’ve learned training analytics over the last 10 years. They discuss the value of subject matter expert driven training so that you can get real value from live in-person discussions and Q&A, as well as all the things they figured out not being professional teachers!

Shameless but whatevs, here’s a link to our GA4 Kickstarter training. And a link to the in-person GA4 training Dan runs via brightonSEO.

In other news, Dan sees (more) love being cemented and Dara goes on the road in the van!

Follow Measurelab on LinkedIn for all the latest podcast episodes, analytics resources and industry news at https://bit.ly/3Ka513y.

Intro music composed by the amazing Confidential (Spotify https://spoti.fi/3JnEdg6).

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If you have some feedback or a suggestion for Dan and Dara, fill in the form https://bit.ly/3MNtPzl to let them know. Alternatively, you can email podcast@measurelab.co.uk to drop them a message.


[00:00:00] Dara: Hello and welcome back to The Measure Pod, this is episode number 44. The Measure Pod is a place for people in the analytics world to talk about all things data. I’m Dara, I’m MD at Measurelab.

[00:00:26] Daniel: And I’m Dan, I’m a consultant and also a trainer at Measurelab. And actually this week, this is what we’ll be talking about, is training, training analytics. So Dara, just to give everyone a bit of a background, I’m a current trainer at Measurelab, and I teach Google Tag Manager, Google Analytics, Data Studio, and all those fun platforms. But you also were this and I almost passed the baton over to me when I joined many moons ago.

[00:00:48] Dara: I did yeah and I have to remind myself of that, I guess, sometimes as well. I used to be a trainer, I was a trainer for a long time and I did quite a lot of training, but I did hand the baton over to you and you’ve evolved our training services over the years as well. So I guess that’s the point of this isn’t it. We’re going to kind of maybe tell a couple of stories or talk about a couple of things we’ve learned. Things that have gone well, things that maybe haven’t gone well, and I guess a few, maybe some misconceptions or things that we’ve seen, common things that we’ve seen from training and what people expect from training around analytics over the years as well.

[00:01:19] Dara: But yeah I’ll be rusty. You are the trainer, I used to be a trainer, and my knowledge, just like my knowledge of GA (Google Analytics) is probably a tiny bit outdated at this point in time.

[00:01:29] Daniel: And you do yourself a disservice Dara. I mean, training is training, learning how to teach is a hard, different skill set. The technical aspect, for sure maybe running a GA4 training course is not the same as running a Universal Analytics training course. Maybe there’s some cobwebs there to dust off. I suppose just jumping straight into it, it actually is a really interesting point is that we are not teachers. We haven’t been trained to be teachers, we are subject matter experts at best. We know the stuff that we are talking about but no one’s ever taught us to be good teachers. This is something that we’ve had to figure out as we’ve gone along and through the good times and the bad that’s been the way that we’ve approached this. And actually, we prefer that, that’s very much where we’ve come at this from, we’re not teachers, but learn a bit of analytics to teach it. We’re analytics professionals that learn how to teach to be able to give the best experience or best education experience.

[00:02:15] Dara: Well, you know we always talk about how most people fall into analytics. It was kind of the same with training for me and probably for you, when you know something well, the natural next step is to train other people how to do it. It felt like a natural extension of being a consultant was actually taking people through mostly it’s things that you were frustrated by over the years. So like my focus with training was always teaching people the things that I had learned not to do. And teaching people about the kind of common misunderstandings within GA (Google Analytics) or how to do things in a quicker way, or in a better way, how to not make the mistakes I had made when I was learning, because most people are self-taught, maybe this is changing now, but I think it used to be the case that most people were self-taught in terms of analytics.

[00:02:58] Dara: So you could kind of let other people benefit from all of the mistakes that you had made over the years. That’s what I always liked the most about training was opening people’s eyes to things and showing them tips and tricks or explaining things that maybe most people misunderstand and kind of opening their eyes to, to kind of a new way of thinking, thinking about how to use analytics. That was always the way I enjoyed it. So it was you’re right, it was never from a classroom style professional teacher point of view. It was just, I know this stuff so maybe I can help other people understand it too.

[00:03:31] Daniel: And that’s the point that I really like, which is that as a subject matter expert, you can adapt and evolve the course as you train it. It doesn’t have to be so black and white and rigid and to the agenda. If all of a sudden a bunch of questions come up about something that you hadn’t had on the agenda, you are able to go off into that tangent and address that. And the same way, if you start talking about eCommerce reporting capabilities in Google analytics and they are a B2B business and they have no interest in it, you can adapt that on the fly and you can be okay, well, let’s talk about this instead. And that this is where personally I’ve run many training sessions, but I’ve also been on a bunch of training sessions too, for all sorts of different things.

[00:04:06] Daniel: I remember one vividly, many years ago now, but I had someone train us, believe or not, in Excel and Visual Basic, and it was painful. It was a two day training course, two full day, IRL training course in London. I got the train up and went both days, but the guy that was training, he was a lovely person, but he was a trainer who learnt the stuff he was training only, maybe a bit more, but not too much, he’s not a subject matter expert in any sense. So he had no way to apply the skills he was teaching to the industry and the things that we were doing. He was just, here’s this exercise, go do this exercise. Here’s this piece of homework, go do that piece of homework. And he had a really good approach to teaching that one specific thing, but unfortunately it missed the mark quite a lot.

[00:04:48] Daniel: We all thought the same at the time, we thought that the course in itself and the guy was really nice, but it wasn’t very practical for us, even if the skill set itself should have been, the actual course delivery just missed the mark enough to then make us all quite disengaged really. It may as well have been a video, it may as well have been a walkthrough tutorial, which we could have done from the office at the time or even home. And I think this is the difference, and I think this is where having it delivered live always has a slight edge and it’s not a one-to-one replacement. So I suppose we could talk about that in a bit, actually just pin that for now, but like the different kind of learning styles and different teaching approaches that we’ve picked up over the years, but having someone in front of you, whether it is virtual, whether it is in real life. Having someone in front of you, the whole point is to be able to adapt and to talk and to go through questions to kind of figure stuff out on the fly together. I think if someone’s just religiously sticking to an agenda and going through the motions, there’s no benefit of it being live. And I think this is something that at least I try to do when I run the training sessions now, is making sure that if people are spending their time to join us for a solid three hours at a time, four hours, two hours, one hour, whatever it happens to be, then it’s worth their while rather than just that evening or the next day just watching the recording.

[00:05:56] Dara: Definitely and I guess it depends, you mentioned about coming back to kind of learning styles and I guess we will, but it does depend on what you’re looking for from it as well. For certain things, if it’s a technique or something, then a video can be just fine and then you follow along or you replicate it and then you learn that technique. But for training and especially if you’re new to something and you want to bring yourself up to a level where you actually have a reasonable understanding of what’s possible and what isn’t, then definitely I think having a person in front of you, whether it’s on a screen or in a room, but having a person in real time to be able to ask questions and if you don’t quite understand something, being able to ask the question in your way and have them understand what you mean and give you use cases and give you extra examples if needed, there’s not really any replacement for that I don’t think.

[00:06:41] Dara: For that kind of learning, when you do want your kind of level raised up where you want to be able to kind of probe and ask questions and have follow up questions, that’s the best way to provide that I guess, broad level of lifting people up. It’s like, oh, I know Google Analytics. I’ve used it a little bit, but I don’t really know what’s possible. You’re not really going to go through every video are you that’s online about every feature and fully understand what you would use that feature for. Not too many people want to sit down and do that. Whereas if you go and sit in a room with somebody for a day and you can say, oh, why would I use this? And you know, what are some of the use cases for it? And what are the limitations? And I tried this once and it didn’t quite work do you know why? You can get a much broader understanding and a deeper understanding on certain aspects of it as well. Like the core areas that you’re interested in, maybe you could ask lots and lots of specific questions and really pick the brains of that trainer and try and get as much useful information from them as possible.

[00:07:31] Daniel: And the big thing that I picked out from that Dara is that it’s guided learning rather than self-guided learning. And I think there’s a statement I say probably way too much in my day to day life. And that is, you don’t know what you don’t know, and if it’s on you to learn something and there’s a module on an online sort of at your own pace training course and you think, oh, that’s not relevant to me I’ll just skip this one. Why would I look up this tutorial when I didn’t know it was a thing to look up in the first place? And I think this is exactly the issue is that you need someone to be like, this is relevant, you don’t think so right now, but I promise you, this will be relevant and this is a big deal, you need to learn this. We’ve talked about it actually on the pod a couple of times, but like things like data retention policies and campaign timeouts in Universal Analytics, these are the things that no one really pays much attention to, and probably wouldn’t self teach. We know that they’re really fundamental to understanding the data later on, so we kind of put them in the agenda, make sure that we are teaching them right at the beginning.

[00:08:22] Daniel: And the other thing as well, you mentioned is like, if you are brand new into something, having some kind of guided kickstarter jumping straight in, helping you kind of guide you a little bit to get the wheels turning so you build that momentum so you can jump in and continue that education process externally or via videos or whatever. The other thing to know is that, and this is actually a conversation I have more often than I’d like actually, especially when I’m talking to a education manager or someone that’s outsourcing training or bringing me into a company to do some training on analytics, you’ll never be an expert on anything purely from a classroom based training or even from watching videos or self-assessments, especially for one day, you know, especially a lot of the courses we run are one day courses. You’re not going to be able to go from first principles to 100% expert one day, even if I had a whole week with you or two weeks spread over six months, I don’t think you’re going to get there.

[00:09:10] Daniel: I think the reality is the only real way to become an expert or have an expertise in something is by doing it regularly, all the time. And if that means having someone by your side or some resource that you can go in and out of on a day to day basis or as and when you have questions, I think that’s the real way to build expertise. And I think this is actually where my, I suppose I’ve built clarity over what the purpose of training is in something like Google Analytics and Tag Manager and Data Studio and all these kind of like tools that we use all the time. And actually it’s not about building expertise. Generally speaking you invite your whole team in there, whether they’re practitioners or not. You invite them all in, we do this training course, we assume no prior knowledge first of all. Even if you have prior knowledge and experience, we assume none. So in a sense, what we’re doing is we’re bringing everyone up to the same page, everyone up to the same level.

[00:10:00] Daniel: So if you happen to be the subject matter expert internally, then it might not be up to your level. But what you’re doing is you’re bringing everyone else up to a higher level. And what it actually means is as the subject matter expert, you might learn a couple of things. You might end up having a bunch of stuff to do, like actions to do off the back of the training. But everyone else, what they’re doing is they’re not learning necessarily how to use the tool. What they’re learning is what the tool can do and what the capabilities of this product is and basically how to formulate better questions.

[00:10:27] Daniel: So if we are working with a company, let’s say they’re a retail company, B2C retail company. And we have an analyst, an analytics person or whatever in the room and therefore arranged this training and they bring all the marketers and product owners and product managers and merchandisers in as well. What we’re doing is we are teaching them all what access they have to data and how they can start to formulate questions and start building up this idea of like, okay, well when I get back on the next campaign, I’ll be able to ask the analyst based on different attribution models, looking at it from this perspective, how well did we do leads generation to propensity to purchase, all these kind of crazy stuff, but we’re basically arming them, not with the capabilities of using the product, but with understanding what the capabilities of the product is. And I think that’s a really important distinction and why I would always recommend to invite the non practitioners into the training session, because again, we’re not building expertise, we are building an awareness.

[00:11:13] Dara: Yeah and it gives everyone a common language as well. And when it’s training for a team, you also get the benefit of using their data and their business for all the examples. So you give them more of an understanding of what the tool can do for them specifically, as opposed to, you know, again, and this is another advantage over just doing some kind of generic online training is you get to use your own data and you get to ask questions specific to your campaigns, to your website, to your app, with the, as you said, often with the analytics owner in the room as well. You’re almost then acting a bit like a facilitator, you’re informing and encouraging, but you’re also helping them to have that discussion around how they should be using the tool and what is possible for them with their resources and what isn’t possible or what questions they should and shouldn’t be asking.

[00:11:59] Daniel: Exactly, we’ve done all sorts of training over the years and focusing purely on just Google Analytics for the moment, but we’ve done all sorts of variations of Google Analytics training. So we’ve done sort of beginner training, advanced training, we’ve done combinations of both. We’ve done half day programs, two day programs, and obviously we work with clients on a day to day basis, over 6, 12, 24 months as well. So we’ve got lots of different flavours of education and training. What we’ve come to realise, and I think what works best, I’m talking from someone that’s been trial and erroring this for many years, but what works best is really focusing on a formalised training as a beginner to intermediate level. And for all the reasons we just discussed that of bringing everyone in assuming no prior experience, building everyone, helping people ask better questions.

[00:12:43] Daniel: Formalised training with an agenda on very deep expertise questions or parts of a product or even processes. It’s either going to be a great fit or it’s going to miss the mark completely, and this is really where we find the more specialised and the more kind of narrow you get when it comes to the education, the more bespoke it is. So there’s no way we can be like, with this three day training course on Google Analytics, we’ll make you a master Google Analytics expert, or an analytics professional, or a fully-fledged data analyst, we can’t do that. We can talk to you around like here’s how to get confident and up and running with Google Analytics, here’s how to start using and here’s some of the tools at your disposal. But actually what we found is that let’s say we did that training with the wider team. And then all of a sudden, the analytics owners, the analysts, the product analytics people stay in the room and they’re like, okay, we want to learn the deep stuff, the advanced stuff.

[00:13:30] Daniel: Then actually you have to treat it more like a workshop, it’s not training anymore. It’s not education in the sense of here’s the content, here’s a lecture, here an agenda. It’s almost like, okay, well you tell me where we need to explore and let’s explore together. As a subject matter expert, I can kind of guide the session, but actually it’s really hard to formalise that. So I think this is the really interesting point is that, and probably what a lot of people might have found is that most training is aimed at a beginner to intermediate level for most products out there because training, it won’t scratch that itch if you’re looking for the really advanced deep stuff, that’s really where you have to find a partner, someone, a freelancer, an agency, or someone, or a colleague or someone else that knows more than you about this thing to kind of learn from, because it is a bit more like, how about this variation? How about that? How about that? You know, it’s never going to be like, sit down quietly and learn and become an expert.

[00:14:18] Dara: Yeah, you’re right. It’s kind of like, you might have advanced problems that need to be solved either through working with somebody or by workshopping it. So maybe doing like you said, like a training workshop rather than a training course, but they’re quite specific, they’ll be specific problems. This idea of having advanced training in a way advanced training is actually the practice you need to put in to become an expert. You can’t jump, you can have very, very good beginner to intermediate training, but to get to an expert level, you don’t just attend a training course, you need to be practising day in day and using all of these advanced features. And it’s not even necessarily using advanced features, but using some of the standard features, but in an advanced way, and trying to kind of hack GA (Google Analytics) as much as you can, that really only comes from application. You don’t go to a training course and learn all of those things because you don’t need all of those things all the time. It’s this kind of cumulative effect of acquiring knowledge over time and getting a better understanding of how you can push the product to its limits. That’s not really something you can distil down into a, oh, come on our three hour training course, and we’ll teach you every single thing we know about analytics. That would be doing us a disservice wouldn’t it. If you could teach somebody in a day then what have we been doing for all these years?

[00:15:30] Daniel: Exactly yeah. It’s like formalised training is the hammer and sometimes you just need a scalpel approach to things, and that’s really where you need that kind of buddy system or mentoring thing going on. The other aspect of it too, as well is the whole concept of like beginner, intermediate and advanced is subjective. You know this as well as I, but the amount of people we had turn up to just the advanced day, because they’re like, I know Google Analytics, I’m advanced, I’m not a beginner. They come along and their eyes just glaze over and they’re just like, oh, okay maybe I should have come to the previous day session and not just assumed I’m an advanced user of this platform. And again, this is the hard thing because we can’t assess it beforehand. They don’t know if they’re beginner, intermediate or advanced, but they just know that they’ve been using Google Analytics for five years, they think they’re advanced. They come along and they realise that, you know, from our perspective they’re not. And I think this is the difficulty you find with that sort of higher end kind of training is that it’s really difficult to gauge to a group of people to become to a specific level or advanced state on something you just can’t, it’s just really, it’s hard.

[00:16:31] Daniel: You’re going to have to have some people switched off every time you talk about something. Like it is always going to be the case, you’re going to have to make some sacrifices when it comes to this kind of group training approach. And I know we’ve said a hundred times, but that’s where the scalpel comes in. That’s where the one on one comes in because you can tailor it, you can make it specific, not just to the organisation or even the vertical, but for the person, their application of it.

[00:16:52] Dara: Yeah and that probably leads us back to what we briefly mentioned earlier which is around learning styles. And this is something that we are continually learning about because going back to what we said at the beginning, our training started out as just being, there wasn’t a great deal of structure to it. It was basically okay, we’re going to run you through. So again, I am talking about the Google Analytics training specifically, but we’d run you through the reports and the features, and it would be a kind of whistle stop tour with a lot of little tips and tricks and little nuggets of information sprinkled throughout. And that worked to an extent, but I guess what we’ve realised maybe by evolving our approach to training is that not everybody learns in the same way. And certainly the idea of doing an eight hour or nine hour training day, we very quickly learned that, that wasn’t a good idea, even though ironically people would ask for that, they’d say, how many hours can I get for my money?

[00:17:42] Dara: But actually there’s a real limit to how much information people can take in. So the kind of more modular approach where you’re chunking content into shorter sessions, gives people a chance to take in the information. And then depending on what the training is as well, having practical exercises that keep people’s focus and actually get them to walk through a problem rather than just being passive and sitting back. So there’s probably a lot we’ve learned around the format, the content, how it should be broken up, the timings, but even still different people learn in different ways. Some people only learn by doing, other people do like sitting and watching somebody talk or watching a video. It’s hard, isn’t it? It’s hard to get the balance right where you’re trying to train, not only people who have a different level of knowledge, but also those people might have individual learning needs or learning requirements as well. It’s certainly not a one size fits all, is it?

[00:18:32] Daniel: No, you’re quite right. In the back of my head I can just hear all the kind of teachers and education professors just being like, of course what are you talking about.

[00:18:39] Dara: Have you only learned this now?

[00:18:40] Daniel: Yeah and the answer is no, not just now, but it definitely came later to us. For us, it was a trial and error approach. I would say that we’re years into that and we’ve learned an awful lot around approaches, styles for our teaching, but also how to structure things. I mean, just talking to what you were saying, like we know that there’s like a six hour limit really, in terms of absorbing information. Let alone if you add like an hour commute if it was real life and then plus lunch plus breaks, you know, the reality is six hours is too much, maybe in one day, but that depends what you do and how you break that up. But with the learning styles it’s great to have someone in a room, whether it virtual or real to kind of talk to you and help you through stuff. So that’s almost like a lecture based approach, right?

[00:19:21] Daniel: It’s like you sit there and you watch someone do something. They use infographics, they use presentation styles, they use demonstrations, demos, exercises, but again, it’s all watching a screen. And actually this is part of where, when I’m talking to people that are attending these training courses. They ask, oh, do I need, let’s say GA4, do I need GA4 access? Do I need it set up? And I’m like, first of all, no, you don’t even need a laptop if you don’t want to. Because if you prefer and you learn better by sitting there with a notepad and watching, then you have that option to you. But if you want to bring your laptop across and you want to partake in the exercises or rather than buddying up with someone else, or if you wanted to follow along with the trainer and do the exercises on your own screen, then you can do that too. There’s kind of pros and cons both ways around, because if you’re doing it on your own screen, you’re kind of missing half of what’s being said. But then I suppose at the same time you’re never put into practice if you’re sitting there with a notepad. So there’s pros and cons, but what we’ve been doing is evolving that and giving people as many different options as possible.

[00:20:14] Daniel: Nowadays, we record all of the sessions because we deliver them remotely or at least the majority of them remotely. So not only do you have access to these live sessions they’re recorded. So if you can’t join them live, then you can re-watch them or even just catch up if you just missed the first one. We create a course document which has kind of like the backdrop to everything, where we upload all the videos to and it has links off if you’re a reader, if you like to read through and take your time, this stuff, you can go and learn each of these subjects that we’re talking about and go explore into more detail. And also if you’ve just been talking to someone potentially for hours about a subject, and then you say, okay, any questions? It’s great to say, oh, by the way, we have a Q&A session at the end of our training courses. People ask for this stuff but then all of a sudden their brain is still chewing, the information is still processing. It’s an awful question to ask a group of people that have just been sitting listening to you for ages, because you know, I’ve been there too.

[00:21:01] Daniel: So what I’ve started to do is just to be like, I know that it’s going to take a week, two weeks, three weeks before you start putting this into practice. If there’s any questions I’m available to kind of help you know anything specifically to do with the training, but if people have any questions or if they want to run anything by me or get me to re-explain something that they heard in the training session, I can kind of do that. So in a sense, we have these office hours, or at least I open these office hours up so that after the training course, you’ve got the live version, you’ve got the recorded version, you’ve got the reading version, but then also you’ve got access to someone that knows what they’re doing, or at least on paper knows what they’re doing for a couple of weeks after the training. Just because again, we know that it might take weeks before you start putting this into practice, and actually we don’t want to leave you in the lurch really.

[00:21:40] Dara: Exactly and you can’t do everything. We take feedback obviously, and we adapt what we hear regularly and what we can change but because of the fact that it’s not going to be the same experience for any two people, you can’t tailor it completely to each individual person. You’re trying to tailor it to the group and that does mean that some people are going to maybe not get less out of it, but maybe it will, if it’s the style or the format or the content or whatever, they might not quite get as much use from it in the same way as somebody else would. But maybe when they go away and think about it and then try something and have a question and come back and ask you, then that’s where it’ll start to click for them. Whereas other people might get everything they need out of attending and then they go away and they use it and they’re happy and they can just figure things out for themselves.

[00:22:19] Dara: So it is, it’s about giving options to people, isn’t it, and trying to adapt for the different ways that people learn. Even when you ran a version of the GA4 training internally at Measurelab with us and I attended it, I was jumping ahead. You would show us something and then I would start doing it, but then I might tune out because I’m doing it and not listen to the next bit. So if that were me, I would probably then go back and watch the video to fill in the gaps of what I missed. Whereas other people, they wouldn’t follow along as in, they wouldn’t follow along by doing it. They might just sit back and take all the information in and take all the notes down. So yeah, it’s trying to cover all the bases and continue to evolve it based on feedback we’re getting to make it better and better.

[00:22:57] Daniel: So we are recording this obviously in 2022, so it’s probably good for us to mention how things have affected our training and maybe have changed and evolved because a lot of the learning we’ve been talking about has actually happened in the last couple of years since COVID hit and the first lockdown kind of really threw a spanner into the works, maybe a subject for another episode, Dara, how you managed to migrate the business to a kind of remote, distributed company. I think that’s really interesting full stop. But for this conversation, I think it’ll be interesting to explore how we just kind of adapted the training during COVID in the post-COVID world, because before we’ve alluded to it a couple of times, we used to run two types of training, all of it was delivered in person and there was no remote delivery of anything. We had our public training sessions where people could just buy tickets and we rocked up and we had the same day every month up in London in a co-working space. But we also did a sort of in-office, in-house training where we tailored it to their needs, but also we kind of went into their office to do the training. Whereas that’s not quite what we have now.

[00:23:54] Dara: No and it’s probably a reflection of how people are working in general. It’s like our training has adapted in the same way that Measurelab and lots of other companies have had to adapt as well. So we’ve all had two and a bit years of learning how to work more from home. Obviously some people were already doing that before, but to most people it’s new and it’s changed. It’s changed the way we all work. Pre-COVID, I remember we talked about it several times and we just didn’t feel like it was right to deliver remote training. I know we had done a couple of remote training sessions for companies where they were distributed, but that seemed a bit alien to us at the time. And we put a lot of stock into the idea of getting in a room with people and not just for training, but for meetings. And that changed, we suddenly, our eyes were open to the fact that we didn’t actually have to be in a physical room with people, we’ve been proven wrong on this now, but one of our assumptions was probably that people wouldn’t be engaged or they wouldn’t be, they wouldn’t participate in the same way.

[00:24:48] Dara: That probably would’ve been true pre-COVID because again people weren’t used to working remotely. They weren’t used to being on Zoom or Google Meet calls for as many hours in the day as we all are now. So we’ve probably become better at doing things remotely in general. And therefore training is no different. Although we’re getting some interest in training people in person, the vast majority of training we’re doing, the people wanted to be remote because their own teams are remote first. So it would be a strange day for them to all come into the office, never mind you going into their office to train them.

[00:25:22] Daniel: I would actually say it’s only over the last couple of months really that I’ve started to deliver training and the other side of the Zoom call, or at least some of the people in the Zoom call are actually sitting in a boardroom or a meeting room together. In the last two plus years, I’ve never delivered a remote training course to everyone being in a room except for me, but actually it’s always a blend. And I think that’s the thing is there’s a blend of working now just full stop, and I know it’s an obvious statement to everyone listening to this right now. But the point is that even if people are starting to go back into the office, there’s some permanent change there and I don’t think this is going back. I’ve delivered one in person training session in the last two and a half years. And that was actually via brightonSEO, I know we’ve mentioned that conference a couple of times, but they run training sessions and we are the GA4 trainer. We did that and do you know what it was great and I had two and a half years of not doing it. I felt a little bit nervous, which is really weird, I run training sessions every other week. But the point is I felt nervous, but I really enjoyed it.

[00:26:14] Daniel: But going back to the big fundamental shift of the all in real life, public sessions, custom sessions, what we ended up doing is, we ended up obviously doing it remotely and that’s absolutely fine. But again, going back to our trial and error stuff, we did try to just do the same course, but remotely. And I think that lasted maybe one, maybe two attempts before we realised six and a half hours on Zoom in one day is too much. We very, very quickly learned from that mistake and adapted and started breaking it into smaller modules and bite size chunks. So that I think the longest sessions we now do are three hours and that include a break in the middle, so that you’re only ever plugged into your headphones and your microphone and your laptop for a couple of hours at a time. And I think that works really nicely, it’s enough time to block it out in the calendar to get your head into something so that you’re not distracted, but at the same time it’s not long enough to be like all day and just completely losing interest. I’ve really enjoyed it, I’ve really enjoyed the kind of remote delivery, the shorter sessions.

[00:27:05] Daniel: Again, we’ve mentioned it, but we can now record the sessions, which has been really valuable for the people we’re training. So they can revisit certain things, especially people that are quite shy that don’t want to ask in the moment. They can go revisit the content we’ve discussed, or maybe ask outside via email. And actually the last thing is that it just opens it up to everybody. There’s been people from like five or six different countries joining in, that’s the most amazing thing about what we’ve done in terms of adapting it to be remote. We can be speaking to people wherever, whenever, and there’s no difference. There’s no difference if you are 20 metres away from me, or if you are 2,000 miles away from me, it doesn’t matter. We are still speaking at a completely the same level, we’re both dialling into the same platform. We both have our own black boxes around our faces that we’re doing the training through, and I think the kind of levelling the playing field of what this has done has actually been really fascinating. From my perspective, my experience, we’ve seen way more interest in learning this kind of stuff now when everyone’s able to do it.

[00:27:56] Dara: Yeah there’s far fewer barriers, exactly as you said and it opens it up. So before imagine trying to get that company that had people in different teams in different locations, trying to get them together and schedule that would’ve been a nightmare, but you like a bit of variety. I’m not surprised to hear you say you were a little nervous going back into the real world again, but also excited and you enjoyed it because it’s the contrast, isn’t it. Just like with work, we like to be able to mix remote working and meeting up from time to time. Probably no different with training, you wouldn’t want to be doing 100% of the training remotely, there needs to be some little bit of balance, even if it’s just doing the brightonSEO training in real life and doing everything else remotely. But it’s like with anything you want a bit of contrast to remind you what you like about each way of doing it.

[00:28:37] Dara: Okay, what have you been doing outside of work then Dan? What have you been doing to wind down in the last week or so?

[00:28:43] Daniel: What have I been doing to wind down this week? I say wind down, I’ll take that more as a what have I been doing to distract myself because it’s been very busy, which I think a lot of people have been, you know, this time of year. I think more distracting for me has been that I went to another wedding this weekend and it was amazing, it was a lovely day, but this is wedding number five this year of six actually, I’ve got one more. It’s wedding season, and this is the backup of the last two years worth of weddings that couldn’t happen. Beautiful days, beautiful couples and I really enjoyed it, but it does take a lot out of you, not just financially, but like energy and effort and everything else. So, yeah, wedding five of six, one more. I’m looking forward to having a weekend opened up again really.

[00:29:23] Dara: You’re nearly there.

[00:29:24] Daniel: Nearly there for sure. How about you Dara, what have you been up to?

[00:29:26] Dara: Believe it or not, first use of the campervan this year on Saturday night. So good to do that and hopefully there’ll be plenty more of that before the weather starts changing. So yeah, we were going to go away a couple of weeks ago, but that didn’t pan out in the end. So I just had an overnight camp with some friends, which was really nice and yeah, reminded me that I really need to get the campervan out more often

[00:29:48] Daniel: You still need to lend it to me as well, I think you promised me that I could have it whenever I wanted?

[00:29:52] Dara: Doesn’t sound like me.

[00:29:53] Daniel: No, I’m pretty sure it was.

[00:29:55] Dara: Okay moving swiftly on, where can people find out more about you Dan?

[00:30:00] Daniel: Over on LinkedIn, just search my name Daniel Perry-Reed, and also on my website danalytics.co.uk.

[00:30:07] Dara: And you can find me on LinkedIn. Okay, that’s it from us for this week, to hear more from me and Dan about GA4 and all things analytics, all of our previous episodes are available on our archive at measurelab.co.uk/podcast. Or you can just use the app that you’re using to listen to the podcast and you can find all the previous episodes on there.

[00:30:28] Daniel: And if there’s someone you think we should be speaking to or a topic you want to hear us talk about, there’s a Google Form in the show notes. If you give that a fill out, then that will get straight through to me and Dara, and we’ll do our best to accommodate. Alternatively, if you can’t be bothered with any of that stuff, just email us at podcast@measurelab.co.uk, and again that gets through to me and Dara.

[00:30:45] Dara: Our theme music is from Confidential, a link to their music is in our show notes. I’ve been Dara joined by Dan, so on behalf of both of us thanks for listening and see you next time.

Written by

Daniel is the innovation and training lead at Measurelab - he is an analytics trainer, co-host of The Measure Pod analytics podcast, and overall fanatic. He loves getting stuck into all things GA4, and most recently with exploring app analytics via Firebase by building his own Android apps.

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