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What training means to me: Insights after more than a year on the job

What training means to me: Insights after more than a year on the job

Dominique Green | 27 September 2023

Dominique here! I am one of the Research Data Specialists here at the DCC. A key part of my job is leading our training programme. In this blog post, I would like to share my experiences and thoughts around training and the work we do here at the DCC.


About me

I came to the DCC in February 2022 (how time flies!). Before taking on this role as the ‘training lead,’ I worked as a postdoctoral research fellow in Data Science & Statistics for a project exploring antibacterial resistance in East Africa. In that role and others, I have had the opportunity to provide and deliver lectures and run academic tutorials. If you’re not from the UK like me, tutorials are basically group sessions designed to complement lectures and discuss topics brought up in lectures that students might not have had time for. University of Hull gives a quick overview of it here. These experiences really gave me an appreciation for the learning process and finding best ways to present what, when first presented, could seem really complicated. I like going through that process with people and presenting topics that I think are really pretty cool. While my past teaching experiences have been in academic settings, working with DCC has allowed me to communicate research data management best practices to people who aren’t researchers and who have a different way of looking at things. 

Over the past year or so, I’ve spent quite a lot of time thinking about what training means. Managing our training programme requires all of us to do that, especially how best to give trainings to different groups. But I also get a chance to think of training from a more macro level. We, at the DCC, are also a one of 18 partners in the Skills4EOSC project, where one of the main objectives is a focus on upskilling researchers across Europe in Open Science. So, there is a lot of work being done around training, how to prepare for the training, the objectives of it, and the benefits of those training to researchers and research support professionals. In my role, I lead the DCC’s participation in that project and lead one of the work packages. So I have a really great opportunity to co-develop learning materials and deliver training for different groups, from policymakers and data stewards and other data professionals. 

What is training? 

I’m sure you can find many different definitions of ‘training’ online. And for a lot of different contexts. 

To me, training has come to mean a process of developing skills, knowledge, and even habits for the purposes of increasing effectiveness in a certain subject area. Training to me is also cyclical and continuous and entails collaborative learning. I try to incorporate these ideas and components into all the collaborations I’ve been a part of to deliver workshops and trainings. For instance, with every partner we team up with, we work collaboratively to assess what is needed and what they believe their staff and students could benefit from.  We tailor all of our sessions based on needs. We derive objectives for the sessions based on what we learned from our partners. One thing that we always want to learn before a session are: Who are the trainees? Who will be joining us? We like to ensure that again we tailor our package for the needs of the partner organisations but also the people who will be joining us on the day or days. 


The training day is the best day of the process for me and is the penultimate stage of this training process. It’s the best part of the process because it’s where we showcase the work that has gone into developing the training. Plus, I get to engage with the participants, and I have the chance to talk about subjects I think are cool like research data management, Open Science, and the FAIR data principles. But to be honest, any conversation about data is always going to be interesting to me. That is probably what most attracted me to this position. I get to talk about data ALL THE TIME! On the day, we also share all of our training materials which have a CC-BY license, so that training participants can review the session again at their leisure and continue to engage with the session topics. I think this is particularly useful for PhD students and other early career researchers who can utilise the materials as a go-to place for all the resources and tools we discuss in each session.  

Gathering Feedback

The final stage is getting feedback from the participants. Yes, we ask for feedback! I really try to embrace the cyclical nature of training. We want to learn how to improve. We want to know what we did well, so that each time we deliver a training we improve on our weaknesses and keep doing what works well. While working in academia, I learned that getting feedback does not need to be daunting. There’s no need to be afraid of it, because it is an important part of continuous improvement. So, I embrace feedback, no matter how critical because it helps me, in the end, to be a better trainer.  

Just recently, I wrapped a 17-month long training project for 8 universities in Asia. This involved each stage of this training process. We spent a quite a bit of time understanding their unique needs, developing online trainings and self-paced learning guides. That culminated in our team delivering training for 3 months. Across those three months, we had over 1200 training participants! Imagine the feedback we sorted through from all of them. 

Because I tend to see training as collaborative learning, I don’t expect the trainees to just learn something from me. I learn something from each session. For example, from this long-term project, I learned how to incorporate different platforms in the workshops to encourage collaboration. There is definitely not a ‘one size fits all’ approach to talking with or interacting with training participants. We are all influenced by our cultures and backgrounds, and we try to take all of that into consideration. I also learned that I can be quite productive at 6am and deliver those training session super early! But it is so good that we can talk about these topics and work with researchers globally that 6am starts make it all worth it. 

How to enquire about DCC training 

If you’re interested in developing training for your staff or students from Asia and beyond, I would love to work with you to tailor a package just for organisation. If you’d like to have an informal chat about it first, send me an email at Should you already know you’d like to have training with us on a host of topics, complete our enquiry form here. I look forward to working with you.