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Getting The Most Out Of On-site Training Courses

Oct 12, 2007
One of the chief benefits of booking on-site (in-house) training, as opposed to sending your people off to a training centre to attend a pubic course, is that the training can be customised to suit the specific needs of your organisation. When booking on-site training courses, be sure to make this clear to the training company and brief them fully on your requirements.

Produce a list of key topics that need to be covered after discussing the matter with the people who will be attending the course, their manager or someone in your organisation who already has the skills the trainees are looking to acquire.

Send examples of your work to the training company, before the training, so that they have a good idea of the kind of documents your guys will need to create or edit (Make sure that you remove any sensitive or confidential information!).

A good software training session will offer users opportunities to practice the skills they are being taught. Ask the training company to incorporate your documents into the practical exercises given to delegates on the course. For example, if your staff are being shown how to create corporate brochures, have the trainer ask them to create pages from some of your typical brochures during the training to check that they are mastering the relevant techniques.

The training area

You will need to find a suitable area where you can realistically conduct a training session and where the trainees can concentrate on learning without interruption, distraction or discomfort. If your organisation does not have a training room then a meeting room can be adapted for the purpose. Delegates should be able to see the trainer from their seat without having to twist around or crane their necks. Each delegate should also have the use of their own workstation or laptop for the duration of the course and enough space to use it.

The appropriate version of the software should be loaded on each person's machine and, ideally, everyone should be using the same version of the software. For example, running a course on Microsoft Word where some delegates have Word 2003 and others 2007 would be a nightmare, since the two versions have such major differences.)

A workstation or laptop connected to a screen projector for use by the trainer is not essential but is extremely useful, especially with a large group (say, more than half a dozen people). If your company does not own one, they can be hired for around 50 pounds per day. A whiteboard and pens are also very handy.

The training delegates

For your training to be effective, delegates must be available for the duration of the course and must be off-limits to other members of staff. Ideally, they should be treated as absent from the office until their course ends. Equally, they should be motivated to do the training and agree that it will benefit them and that acquiring the new skills provided by the training will help them to work more effectively.

It's not a good idea to add a few extra bodies to a training session just to make up the numbers and get your money's worth. It is far better to include just those delegates for whom the training will be relevant and useful and who will, furthermore, receive more personal attention from the trainer.

Timing

Finally, to be effective, in-house training (like all computer training) should be timely. Computer users should attend a course at a time when they are about to start using the software or using it in some new or more advanced manner. Immediately following their training, they should also have the opportunity to implement what they have learned.

This of course implies that they should have the software available on their own computers and that there will be a requirement for them to use it as part of their daily routine. If they never actually use the software for weeks or months after attending a course, the benefits of the training will be almost entirely lost and they will probably need to repeat the training session!
About the Author
The author is webmaster of the On-site Training Courses website, which offers competitively-priced computer training courses on-site throughout the UK.
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