A technique I have seen applied with a lot of success is project or use case based learning. With a little reading, researching and video watching new GIS users gain familiarity to the tools and language of spatial analysis. For the business/marketing professional turned GIS analyst use cases are a very logical path towards GIS fluency, as are web-based and simplified desktop applications. For the developer/programmer/IT personas GIS skill development often builds upon a strong understanding of programming logic with SQL statements applying spatial queries to foundational location data; I.e. customer tables with common customer information and demographics segmenting customer personas.
There are several things that can help new users to get started.
First, consider starting the new users on a web-based solution that doesn’t require any installation of software. Often such a solution will give them access to a lot of the standard functionality they need.
After some time, they might need to move on to a more powerful desktop GIS. For the desktop GIS, the interface needs to be easy to use. It would also be helpful if they in some way are able to easy costumise it to their needs and be able to group the features and functions they use.
We have found that giving them access to a search feature directly in the interface makes it easier for users to learn a new interface.
Speaking for MapInfo Pro, there are many short videos (https://li360.pitneybowes.com/s/mapinfo-pro-resource-center) and “how to” articles on our Li360 community. However, the best way to learn is to use the software for a realistic project based on the type of organization. We will soon be rolling out customized MapInfo Pro workspaces with worked examples of typical tasks, such as evaluating a retail site or creating a map shaded by income. AFter a user has become familiar with basic tasks, the videos and “knowledge base” articles will be more useful as reference material for more advanced tasks.
Couldn't have said it any better, @Colin Mattison?.
Make sure you give the right tool to the right person. Don’t give a GIS to a business user, give them something that provides location intelligence without the tools used mainly by GIS experts. Allow them to grow and experience GIS this way.