Whether or not you need a training course depends on several factors, such as your goals, current knowledge and skills, and the specific subject matter of the course. Here are a few considerations to help you make a decision:
- Subject Matter: Consider the topic or skill covered in the training course. Ask yourself if it aligns with your interests, goals, or career aspirations. If the course offers valuable knowledge or teaches a skill that you genuinely want to acquire, it may be worth considering.
- Current Knowledge and Skills: Assess your current level of knowledge and skills related to the subject matter. If you already possess a strong foundation in the area covered by the course, it might not be necessary for you to enrol. However, if you have knowledge gaps or feel that you could benefit from a structured learning experience, the course could be valuable. I have had a growing number of clients who said they needed a refresh on the subject because they saw their practice drift slowly away from best practice or simply realise that after 3 or 5 years things may have moved on from what they learned, and they want to stay afloat with the latest in a fast moving world.
- Alternative Learning Resources: Research alternative sources of information or learning materials. There might be books, online tutorials, or free resources available that can provide you with the knowledge you seek. Compare these options with the course content to determine if the course offers something unique or more comprehensive.
- Learning Style and Structure: Consider your preferred learning style and whether the course’s teaching methods align with it. Some people benefit from structured courses with assignments, assessments, and instructor feedback, while others prefer self-directed learning or interactive group environments. Choose a learning format that suits you best.
- Cost and Time Commitment: Evaluate the cost and time commitment required for the course. Determine if the benefits you anticipate outweigh the financial investment and the time you need to allocate for studying. If you have limited resources or time constraints, you might need to explore more cost-effective or time-efficient alternatives.
Ultimately, the decision to take a training course is a personal one. Consider your unique circumstances, learning preferences, and goals to determine if the course aligns with your needs and provides sufficient value to warrant your investment.
What options do you have?
There are various types of learning courses available depending on the subject matter, delivery method, and learning goals. Here are some common types of learning courses:
- Traditional Classroom Courses: Also called Face to Face or F2F, these are traditional in-person courses conducted in a physical classroom setting. They involve face-to-face interaction with an instructor and fellow students. It’s a fantastic way to really immerse yourself with the group AND the facilitator. It’s also the closest thing you get to a proper consulting session when time allows and if the trainer is savvy as well. Maybe that’s why it attracts the highest fee as well, generally, but with the right training company you also get luxurious venues and great food too… I saw many customers starting sales with their colleagues after class, this was beautiful to see them networking from a common ground… The trainer can be travelling from afar to get to the venue and therefore stays at a local accommodation, which makes him/her more available after class for further course related discussion around a drink…. Until recently, this was the favoured way to get training by the majority of serious clients.
- Virtual Classrooms: Are live online courses delivered entirely over the internet. They can be self-paced or instructor-led, in real time, and students get access to course (often physical) materials prior to starting the course. Those can therefore be printed or provided electronically. It may take time for a physical material to be delivered to you. So for those courses, one needs to join early enough in advance to get the material on time for the class. Online courses offer flexibility and can include multimedia content, discussion forums, breakout rooms, whiteboards and assessments. Generally a bit cheaper than the F2F type, because a trainer is live. It can’t be easily rescheduled. Some advantage, I hear, is that it can be set anywhere with minimal setup, and you won’t have to brave traffic in and out of CBD to attend it in a physical venue. For clients geographically dispersed or not within practical distance from a suitable venue, this is the next best thing. I personally think that this is a complementary way to dispense the best possible training. Of course, the quality of the course will also depend on the trainer’s setup, and a serious investment is required for the trainer to provide the quality you are after. Not all trainers are comfortable using so much ICT systems though, or not willing to invest properly in the gear to deliver the best possible way, so the quality can differ greatly from one trainer to the next. This being said, you also need a good mic and camera to participate correctly as well.
- Online Courses: Are also delivered entirely over the internet. They can be self-paced or instructor-led (but with a time delay for eventual feedback), and students access course materials and lectures through a learning management system (LMS). Online courses offer flexibility and can include multimedia content, discussion forums, and assessments and easily rescheduled. They are generally quite cheap, but they offer no real help or feedback, not personalised attention. If you do not need those services, then this might be a place to start. At least see if there is some sort of official certification once you completed the course, so you have something to show for.
- MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses): MOOCs are online courses designed to reach many participants worldwide. They are often offered by prestigious universities and provide access to high-quality educational content for free or at a minimal cost. Read minimal cost as the key word here guys, the content and quality vary greatly from one supplier to the next. It’s designed to be the greatest ROI for the course supplier. It can be much drier and feel very impersonal due to the fact that there is no one behind it when you are training, and the live feedback is therefore missing. This is more suitable for very short course or for people who have very strong self-discipline…and can study on their own with minimal assistance.
- Blended or Hybrid Courses: These courses combine elements of both in-person and online learning. Students attend some classes in a physical classroom and engage in online activities and discussions through an LMS. There are talks that this may be the next thing to please all clients, but the technical setup must be up to speed with the immersion experience these course must also provide the client who attends online.
- Self-paced Courses: Self-paced courses allow learners to study at their own pace without strict deadlines. They provide pre-recorded lectures and materials, allowing students to access and review content as per their convenience. If you have very strong study ethics and self-discipline it could work, otherwise…
- Boot camps: Boot camps are short-term, intensive training programs focused on developing specific skills, usually in the field of technology or coding. They offer hands-on experience, practical projects, and often have a fast-paced learning environment. Sometime the most expensive of all training solutions, it can provide hardware like laptops for Cybersecurity courses for instance.
- Corporate Training Programs: Corporate training programs are designed for employees to enhance their skills and knowledge in a specific area relevant to their job roles. They can be conducted in-house or outsourced to professional training providers. If you are lucky your employer will outsource it to a professional specialised training company but most likely you will miss out on food perks of the public courses offered by SOME F2F training companies. Also forget about nice hotel venues, as those are conducted on the employer’s grounds or at best in specialised training places. Not that it is essential, but the 4 or 5-star hotels with their scrumptious food 3 times a day, is a huge plus, I think, on long courses (3+ days)…
Those training solutions for professional development courses aim to enhance knowledge and skills in a particular field or industry. They are often pursued by professionals to stay updated with the latest trends, improve job performance, or advance their careers. Remember David Pink’s 3 great motivators… If you can have mastery, autonomy and purpose in your role, you are in nirvana work-wise; and consequently you don’t have to work a single day, since you are doing what you love… But if you aren’t there yet, then you need to find a way to love what you do… And if that job is painful, draining and not enjoyable at all, you may feel that you are in hell…
So at this stage you are thinking, fine, but what can I do to make it nicer for myself those on 5 days per week?
I hear you, my friend, I do. This is when I tell you about Gnōthi Seauton or know thyself in ancient Greek… If you haven’t done your own SWOT analysis, then you probably would not know what you should be doing to leverage what you are naturally good at and boost where you need to be better at doing…
Besides the unavoidable Myers-Briggs type of self assessment, you probably have done some kind of test in your life to find out a bit more about who you are and what drives you naturally. I did, and I am doing it now… It was a life changer when I made the move… Keep in mind that this is not always the most glorious or financially rewarding thing you may think you deserve, but once you are in it, a lot of dark clouds will clear up in your mind.
In any case, once you have found out what you would be happier at doing, you may realise that there is one or more gaps in your bag of tricks (read skill set) that need attending asap. At this stage you know what you need to learn and all you now have to decide is how you will learn it.
Ask around, get some reading in your day to clear up a list of the content that you need help with. Once you have that figured out, you are set to go shopping and find the course(s) you need to attend.
Remember that like in most cases you get what you pay for, otherwise there would not be high-end training companies alive today… Those with more than 20 years experience in the field have seen their competition coming and leaving the market, and so they know a thing or two about getting you there faster and in much less pain.
How can you choose the right training company for you? I guess testimonies are a good start, but the way they present themselves, what they offer, how they respond to your queries tells a lot about the training businesses.
Then it comes down to who will train you… Training, especially adults, is more an art than a science, as it takes a savant mix of knowledge (SME), skills (pedagogy) plus the entertainment factor. I love to use the analogy of the 3 legged stool principle here.
|Trainer Type (TT)||Skill #1: |
Subject Matter Expertise
|Skill #2: Pedagogy||Skill #3: |
|What you may think of the trainer||How you will fare with the trainer’s course|
|TT1||trainer got that part coverred||trainer got that part coverred||trainer got that part coverred||Trainer got it all and will get you through the content,even the hard bits, in a way that you will remember, understand and can actually use at work and even in your life…||You feel like you worked very hard in that course but your brain is now buzzing with ideas and a strong desire to practice what you have actually learned… You can visualise your learning, have a positive feeling and you also scored high in the associated exams…|
|TT2||trainer got that part coverred||trainer got that part coverred||trainer is missing that skill||Trainer is boring as, but may get you there if you don’t fall asleep that is…||You remember that lecturer in UNI that sounded so smart but you could not stay awake long enough to realise it… You struggled during your revisions, missing valuable menonics and other fun stuff to help you remember the important examinable bits and their context…|
|TT3||trainer got that part coverred||trainer is missing that skill||trainer got that part coverred||Trainer is chaotic but still fun, you may have a fair bit of study to do afterwards though to put it all in order for your brain to use it…||Like that chemistry teacher at school that blew up the experiment but made your day! You even remember that one class 30 years later. He was cool and savvy but he was all over the place with his content so you struggled figuring out the actual learning behind the lesson…|
|TT4||trainer is missing that skill||trainer got that part coverred||trainer got that part coverred||Those trainers seem quite comfy as long as they stick to the beaten track of the official content. They probably should not train people live…||Some trainers don’t really know or master the stuff, but they will tell you stories and narrativess that may make you believe they do and what you may learn there may suprise you… not necessarilly in a good way!|
|TT5||trainer got that part coverred||trainer is missing that skill||trainer is missing that skill||Knows but can’t teach it. That smart guy at work, you get help from at work… Its just black magic!||You probably will never learn anything from those people, but they can do the job better than you do… Apparently.|
|TT6||trainer is missing that skill||trainer got that part coverred||trainer is missing that skill||Maybe your dad, uncle, brother or best mate can show you how to fail better and faster in a way you can understand. They can’t tell you what works but certainly what doesnt… Might hurt a bit in the process.||You may see this type of trainer in canned and well polished WHS and firehazard corporate courses where they are merely the conveyers of a message that is often way beyond them… They don’t like questions and you could get the same result from the official book itself word for word.|
|TT7||trainer is missing that skill||trainer is missing that skill||trainer got that part coverred||Trainer is a trickster but is fun, you probably can’t use the stuff afterwards, but you will have a good time…||Better suited to one man show and stand up comedy… You wonder what that course was about in the end and feel like you wasted good money… Back to square one!|
Note, I did not bother with the TT 8, self-appointed, “would-be” trainer who is missing all 3 legs. I’m not sure who would want to train with someone who does not know what he is talking about, has no idea how to teach it anyway and has no charisma nor personality enough to make it enjoyable as well as useful…
What do you value in a training course? Tell us about it.