Open Sourcing Drupal Training

As Drupal gains popularity, the need for developers is increasing and consequently so is the need for trainers. Let's make sure that the first point of contact for people to the community is a positive experience by open-sourcing our methods of teaching.

How do you explain Drupal to someone completely new to both Drupal and to content management systems? What are the metaphors that people have found work best?

How do you go about introducing hooks and the menu system to developers? Views, Panels, CCK, Context?

Last week I had a lot of fun trying out various ways during a couple of full-day Drupal training courses I did at Brightlemon London. A great bunch of attendees made the courses very enjoyable and got me excited about the prospect of doing more but also concerned about doing it the right way.

Currently there is a huge need for training, because there is a huge need for Drupal devs. But who trains the trainer? I don't think we need a Drupal Trainer Certification program but I do think we need a space in the community where training is discussed and the means and methods to go about doing it are shared and improved. In a way it is about open-sourcing Drupal training.

Not all of us can benefit from the collective years of training experience organizations like Lullabot have - but we need to ensure that they way people are trained is appropriate and we definitely need a space where potential trainers can just double check things with others. Trainers will increasingly be the first point of contact for new members to the community. We need these members enthused, aware and versed in the ways of the Drupal. As Dries said in San Francisco it won't be long before Drupal is just somebody's day job - a bad training experience will guarantee that. We need more stuff like this from Josh of Chapter 3.

Back in my university days I was lucky to work with some great academics who were not only amazing researchers but also amazing teachers. They got me excited about what teaching can do - and I don't think Artificial Intelligence or even just Introduction to Programming would have had the same impact in my life if the teacher was not that good.

So this is about ensuring that as many people get a positive Drupal training experience as possible. I've asked for a Drupal Group to discuss this - not sure whether it will get approved but if other people think this is worth doing then let us start sharing information. Next week I will write up how I explain the basic Drupal concepts - I've done it a few times now and it seems to work but hopefully others have even better ideas!


Our Seattle Drupal User Group just held its second annual "Drupal Clinic" (an all-day hands on site building workshop for Drupal beginners). All materials, including two power point presentations and a step-by-step agenda for the hands on portion, have been placed in the public domain. There's also a "lessons learned" page for both of our workshops (hint: the second one went better than the first one!). is the web site.

hi jennifer - thanks for that was very useful to read the lessons learned. Pace is always an interesting question as well as how much hands on / lecturing style there should be. I found that advanced seemed to fit more a lecture style while beginner courses are a better fit for direct hands on.

Hello Ronald!

Why don't you come and join the Curriculum & Training group?

This is exactly what the group is set up for. We meet Monday nights (8pm GMT) on IRC in the #drupal-dojo channel to have these kinds of discussions, and join forces to work on an open curriculum. I think it's exactly what you're looking for.

In terms of "who's training the trainers"- that is a really interesting topic. I was surprised to see at the San Francisco DrupalCon, that a panel speaker was dismissive, saying that what one needed to know about training was minuscule in relation to what they needed to know about Drupal. While subject matter expertise is important, there is a broad and deep background to learning & teaching, which I think anyone training in Drupal would benefit from.

Also, I wonder if you're coming to DrupalCon? I've proposed a session "Communicating Drupal visually"

I think it's in the same direction you're headed in: finding better ways of communicating fundamental concepts in Drupal. I'm looking forward to your blog posts!

I even searched before writing the blog post and didn't come across this! Thanks so much for the heads up - and will drop in on the online meetings - hopefully as tonight as well. Will be at Copenhagen and would be great to chat about this.

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