Training Courses …. Are They A Good Use Of Our Time And Money Or Can We Learn It All Ourselves?

Training courses

What is training? Definition from Oxford dictionary – the action of teaching a person a particular skill or type of behaviour.
Training is about the acquisition of knowledge, skills and competencies. Training has specific goals of improving capability, capacity and performance.

The key is, we need to find the right training course to enable us to gain knowledge and expertise quickly allowing us to put what we have learnt into practice straight away.
We all think we can work it out or do it ourselves and probably we can, but how long does it take us and actually is this the most efficient way to spend our time? In any business time is money but in a small to medium size business, it’s also about juggling numerous different tasks in the time available.
By selecting and attending the right training course, we gain valuable knowledge and resources to enable us to operate more effectively.

Before we embark on a training course ….

We need to decide what we want to learn, how we will use the new found knowledge and skills that we gain from the training course in our business. It is important to understand what is going to be covered in the course and what will be achieved regarding the level of competency once we have completed the course.
If we do not get this right we are potentially leaving ourselves open to feeling disappointed – we didn’t learn anything new, the level of course was very basic, really for someone who already had lots knowledge/experience or it seemed that the trainer didn’t seem very knowledgeable on the subject.

What do we want from a training course?

Ideally, we want a course that tells us everything we need to know about that subject, product or service.
We want the trainer to be knowledgeable and to answer all the questions about the subject and for them to share other useful information with us.
We want to leave the course feeling satisfied that we have learnt something new, had those questions answered or problem solved, and that the time and money has been well spent.
This is hard to achieve as we may over or underestimate our capabilities and knowledge and pick a course that is not going to allow us to gain the skills we need.
We need our expectations managed and only then can we start to make a decision.

As a trainer….

I think training courses are invaluable. They provide information, ideas and knowledge very quickly. Clients attending a training course will also gain extra knowledge from the other clients attending the course by listening to their questions or problems being discussed.
When you see clients leave a training course looking happy that they have learnt something new and can do things much quicker or better, you know as a trainer you have achieved the objective of sharing the information at the correct level for the clients.

An example of how some delegates perceive training courses:

I ran a course for an organisation and a number of employees were informed they needed to attend the 1-day course.
On the day of the course, the delegates were having coffee and chatting when I went to introduce myself as the trainer. I asked them if they were looking forward to the course to which they replied – yes they were keen to learn about new areas and to learn any shortcuts that would save them time. One gentleman said attending the course was a waste of his time but his employer had told him he needed to attend.
I acknowledged what he had to say and asked if we could review this again at the end of the course as I was sure there were a few hints and tips I would be sharing during the day that would hopefully be useful and time saving.
Before I broke for lunch I asked the delegates if they were finding the course interesting and useful. The general feedback was good but the gentleman from the morning didn’t comment.
In the afternoon session, I was able to share useful hints and tips and to answer questions on areas the delegates wanted help with. It was lovely to see how everyone was interacting including the gentleman who was very against attending the training course.
At the end of the course, I asked everyone if they had enjoyed the course to which they replied “yes”. I asked everyone to complete a feedback form and to place it in the envelope provided so it was confidential. When I looked at the feedback forms, the delegates agreed it was time well spent and they left knowing more about the product including some time-saving hints and tips. Even the gentleman who felt the course was a waste of his time said he had learnt a number of ways to use the software that would definitely save him time.
So my conclusion is that training courses help to refresh what we already know and we can learn about new information including some hints and tips. But to enable you to get the very best from a training course you need to ask the right questions.

As a client …..

Things you need to think about and ask before signing up for a course:

  •  Decide what course you want to attend
  • Check with people you know what courses they have completed and what organisations they used – Word of mouth is the best recommendation
  • Always speak to the training organisation or trainer to ensure the course content meets your requirements
  • The more questions you ask the more informed you are to make the right decision about the type and level of course
  • Always ask what will be achieved at the end of the course e.g. attendance certificate or a recognised qualification

These are just a few questions that will hopefully help you make the right choice when choosing a training course.

Do let me know your thoughts if you think training courses are beneficial or not?

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