Six questions to answer before you book training

By Stuart Box

FAQ Learning Training

I've blogged before about the questions to ask a potential Training Provider, but I thought I'd list six questions that any Company or Organisation that seriously wants to get the best out of Training should be asking before going ahead. Of course, there's a dual benefit here, the answers to these questions will help you understand your Training need, and also help any Training company understand just what you want. It's very common that a department, group, or individual will say "I/We need training in ……", here's just six simple questions to answer before you go out and get a Trainer.

1) Training in what exactly?

It's good to delve a little deeper into the need for training. People could say they need training in Word, but on asking further you may find they are having problems with locating items in the ribbon. Perhaps an upgrade to 2010 has caused some difficulties, and staff are simply wanting training in the one application they use most? Recently a request to "know a bit more about Excel" turned into a full course in Formulas, Pivot Tables and linking to a Database for an accounts department that needed to produce reports for the rest of the organisation. Equally not everything may be a real request for training. Asking for training in say, OneNote, may just be a request for information which can be satisfied by a short briefing session in this new tool, rather than a full training course in an application they may not necessarily use. People are usually reticent to say they don't know about something, or don't have the skills to do their job, asking a few more questions will help you uncover the real training need.

2) Is it just IT?

Very often it isn't simply learning which button to press.There needs to be an understanding of why these things are done. So any training in Word or PowerPoint, for example, needs to include information on the "house style", Project training should also cover Project Management skills, and so on. The best applications training takes your processes and procedures into account and teaches people not just the "how" but the bigger picture of why.

3) What's the business outcome?

As soon as you can in the process think what the outcome of training will be. Not just "People will know more about Word", think what business outcome you want.
  • "Managers can edit their own documents when their PA is out of the office"
  • "Sales staff can produce their own PowerPoint presentations"
  • "Finance can produce more timely end of month reports in Excel"
  • "Reduce calls to the IT helpdesk by 40%"
  • "Help staff adapt to Office 365 and reduce the cost of calls to the States by using Lync"
  • "Produce fully costed Project Plans using Microsoft Project"
  • "Increase positive feedback and quote opportunities from the Webinars we hold"
Being clear on the business outcome will help you justify why the training is required, and often give an insight into the value of that training.

4) How many need Training?

Knowing what training you want and who wants it will probably give you the number of people that will need training. But don't be tempted to skimp or reduce this number. If you've identified the need and the outcomes it's probable that others in your organisation have the same issues but haven't raised them.

5) What sort of Training?

"Training" is pretty much a catch-all word in business, but training comes in many different forms.
  • Self-paced learning, such as Computer Based Training courses (CBT), or simply reading a manual.
  • Desk-side one-to-one training with a Trainer.
  • Ad-Hoc desk side training sometimes called Floorwalking.
  • Live Online Training with a Trainer and other attendees over the internet - using tools such as Lync or Webex
  • Short "drop in clinics" on-site with a trainer in residence ready to solve problems and help users who call in with specific problems
  • On-Site Classroom training, when a group of colleagues work together with a trainer on a course customised to their requirements.
  • Off-Site Classrooms training, usually "Open Courses" where several companies, and skill levels, come together for a days' set course.
The type of training you go for will probably depend on the answers to previous questions, together with the all-important next topic…

6) What's your budget?

Training costs will range from tens to hundreds, to thousands of pounds depending on what you want. If you've answered the questions above you should know what, who and how many want training, what format you want it in, and importantly, you'll know what you want to get out of the training. This should inform your budget decisions and tell you whether you simply need to buy a book from Amazon or go for fully customised instructor-led training for hundreds of staff. If you've really no idea on budget, then, by all means, ask several Training providers, but give them as much information as you have. This will allow them to quote for what is required, and allow you to compare the quotes between providers. At Burningsuit we can provide you with the best possible training given your requirements, at a price that won't break your budget. If you don't have answers to these questions talk to us and see how we can help you get the answers and training you need.

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