Choosing a training course can be like buying new running shoes: most importantly, you want them to be practical, make you feel comfortable, and take you the distance. You might also want to buy them from someone you trust, someone who will stand by their products, and who will care enough about you to ensure you get the product that suits your needs, and fits just right.
Needs analysis: what do you really need?
Speaking of a good fit, think about the skills you really need for your job. If you need some ideas, organise a meeting with your supervisor to do a “needs analysis”, that is, an assessment of the specific areas where you both feel you need further development. Make a list of the specific tasks you need to learn, and compare that to the course you are considering.
Compare the course syllabus to your needs analysis. How much of your list is included in the course? Do the objectives and tasks in the course align well with your learning objectives? If you are not sure if specific tasks will be included in the course, call or email the training company. A good training organisation will care about your learning experience and be happy to provide you with details of the course contents.
Will you be able to transfer what you have learned back to the job? Will you be able to apply what you have learned during the course right away? The longer you wait to “use it”, the more likely you are to “lose it”. You are less likely to be motivated to learn material that you can’t envision using, or to remember much of the material once you do use it. Try to take the course at a time when you can apply what you’ve learned soon after the course.
Is the course a good mix of theory and practical application? A purely theoretical course is similar to the ones you attended at university; where you listen to a lecture, or sit through a presentation, and take notes. However, in a theoretical course, you miss out on getting your hands on a computer or practice your new skill during a role play. On the other hand, a purely practical course will provide you with hands on exercises throughout the course, but you may miss out on the big “why” of what you’re doing.
A course that builds your mental framework with theory, and then allows you to practice it, is the best combination for learning most skills.
If you have one instructor in a classroom with 20 people who are at different skill levels, chances are that you won’t receive the benefit of individual attention. For most courses, smaller class sizes of fewer than 10 people are optimum for a productive learning experience. The smaller the size of the course, the better for getting your questions answered and receiving individual attention.
Now that you’ve decided on your course, it’s time to prepare for your learning experience!
Review any materials that are associated with the course and prepare questions.
Participate fully and take notes. The more engaged you are with your training, the more you will get out of it. When you return to work, share what you have learned with your colleagues, to refresh your memory and promote organisational learning.
Provide honest feedback on your evaluation form. If the training organisation asks for feedback, then it is only helpful if you give them an accurate picture of the service they have provided. This helps them improve their courses and their service to students like you.
At CALUMO, we provide courses with clear training objectives, and are happy to discuss the content of the courses with you. We provide a balanced mix of theory and hands-on practical application in courses designed to teach you practical skills that you will use on the job. We have small class sizes so we can provide you with individual attention, and have experienced consultants teach you the best practices they have learned from years of experience gained from working with hundreds of clients, to provide you with the best outcome.
To see our course schedule, descriptions, and pricing, please visit: http://www.calumo.com.au/training.html
If you’d like to discuss your training needs, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (02) 8985-7777 and ask for the CALUMO Academy.
All the best,