Ict@innovation: Free your IT Business in Africa/6-1

Module 6.1: How to be a FOSS Trainer




1 hour

FOSS Trainer Characteristics


Any good trainer is natural communicator with strong technical skills to provide his/her students with the right tools to work in the industry. The winning combination of the 'ideal' FOSS instructor includes:

  • Winning personality and ability to communicate.
  • Practical experience in FOSS applications.
  • IT training experience.
  • Ability to engage participants and relate content to their situation.
  • Be inquisitive and have a passion for training.
  • They should have the ability to teach themselves a program and then use their skills, knowledge and attitude to facilitate the transfer of that knowledge.
  • Have an understanding of the philosophical underpinnings of the FOSS movement.

Currently, no specific certification roadmap exists for a FOSS trainer.

Trainers should continuously act and reflect. They should always look back on how to improve delivery of the training, learn from course evaluations and aspire to have a better understanding of the applications they teach.  FOSS trainers should not see the software as different from proprietary software.

It is also important that trainers use the software they are training, in one way or another. In so doing, they become conversant with features and functionalities that the software provides and can transmit this knowledge to their trainees. It also provides the trainer with a sense of authority and confidence.

Trainers should see training as a stage production:

  • There is the audience (participants).
  • There is a stage (training room).
  • The performance by the actor (trainer conducting the course).
  • The applause (the feedback).

Types of Training Interventions


Potential trainers may need their skills to be upgraded in different ways. We can broadly distinguish between three types of training interventions for FOSS trainers:

  • There are those who have the technical knowledge of FOSS packages and have been using certain packages, but have not conducted any training of any nature. This type of person needs to acquire the knowledge and skills on how to conduct FOSS training for adults.
  • There are those who have the knowledge and skills on how to conduct ICT training for adults which they might have acquired through self-learning or having had attended a course, but have not conducted any FOSS training. Instead, they have conducted training in proprietary software. This type of trainer will need to be trained on FOSS packages.
  • There are those who have conducted FOSS training courses and have the knowledge and skills on how to conduct training, but have not trained other trainers. This type will have to be trained on how to train other trainers.

Ideally, a new trainer should follow a trainer development program that may include delivering the content to a colleague and/or to a group of peers.

Part of the training curriculum for a train-the-trainer course may include topics of the  CompTIA's Certified Technical Trainer (CTT+) curriculum or a similar programme.


  1. List the winning combination of an "ideal" FOSS trainer
  2. Name a certificate which exists for trainers
  3. Discuss the three types of training interventions
  4. Why is it important that trainers use the software they will be training?
  5. Is there is difference between a FOSS trainer and proprietary software trainer?



Trainers are going to brainstorm the qualities a trainer should possess.  The trainer will write the contributions on a flipchart.

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