As a training company that cares about its attendees, you can perhaps understand how passionate we are about making sure what we deliver matches what the delegate wants and needs.
I’m sure many of us have been sent on a course where the tutor has a thick manual of topics to deliver, and that’s what you’re going to get (whether you like it or not !). Not an ideal scenario.
So where does the responsibility lie for making sure the course content matches the attendee needs ?
At the start of every course, we run a ‘defining your objectives’ session.
This is a nervous time for the course tutor as the outcome will define what material is delivered on that course, regardless of what the tutor thought he or she was going to deliver.
Don’t get me wrong, on many courses, the attendee or someone from their organisation has researched the need and made sure our course will address it. That’s the perfect scenario. But when this is not the case, it can be for less than obvious reasons.
Take our range of IT courses as an easy example.
If you book on an Introduction to Microsoft Excel course, we tend to assume that you have little or no formal experience of using Excel. So when an attendee announces that they have been using Excel for over 5 years, that’s unexpected. So why come on an Introduction level course ? “Because my boss sent me.”
Likewise, if you want to attend an Intermediate Microsoft Excel course or and Advanced level course, the assumption is that you have some experience already. Certainly that’s not always the case and the most common reason is “I thought an Introduction Level course would be too basic for me”. Ever heard the tale about building on weak foundations ?
With IT application training, whilst we’ve seen that attendees can choose the wrong level of course, it’s unlikely that they get the wrong subject. Not many people come on an Introduction to Microsoft Project course when they need to learn word-processing !
With our ranges of non-IT courses, it’s not always that clear cut.
An example was an attendee who had been sent on an Anger Management course. He working in a particularly stressful environment and when the pressure was on, his colleagues saw his communication style as ‘Angry’.
In reality though, he was not an angry person. He just had an intense focus on getting the job done when he was working under pressure. What he really needed was some communication skills tuition so that he modified his style when working under pressure.
So is it fair to say that you can send anyone on any course and it doesn’t really matter because our tutors will just adapt ? Not surprisingly, no !
Flexible we are, magicians we are not. Particularly on our open, scheduled courses, we are constrained by the needs of the group and so it’s harder to adapt to very diverse needs of an individual attendee.
What would our recommendation be ?
Make sure you fully understand the needs of the attendee before they get to the course.
Take a look at the course content sheets (available on the course detail pages).
And if you’re still not sure, ask us. We would be happy to discuss your requirements and make sure we get it exactly right.
Also ask about Training Needs Analysis, but perhaps that’s a future blog topic.