No Image Available

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

Effective training on a tight budget


Matt Pierce discusses how organisations can effectively train on a budget, while retaining the feel of a face-to-face session.
Access to sufficient resources and budgets is a long standing challenge in the training and learning sector. While the majority of trainers will have experienced concern over their budget at some point, it is a particular challenge in the charity and voluntary sector.
Charities and voluntary organisations in the UK are predominantly small or medium in size, with training budgets to match. Limited budgets, and the fact many organisations are based outside a central city where training courses are usually held, makes managing a not-for-profit organisation's training programme tricky. The cost of attending and travelling to training sessions or seminars simply prohibits smaller charities from participating. Many organisations do not have the time or means to conduct external training. However, having a well trained staff is vitally important for an organisation that relies on the good will of others to reach its goals.  

Delivering a personal session anywhere

The natural option for trainers on a budget is to use informal learning, in place of a formal instructor-led session. This is a valid approach for training specific to an organisation, where the required knowledge will be held by one or several individuals internally.
Effective training in certain topics relies on a subject matter expert with a wealth of knowledge. In the voluntary sector this is especially true; the intricacies of running a fundraising campaign or adhering to required governance for a UK-based charity are complex subjects. Using video screencast training offers a compromise that balances a formal instructor-led session with easy access for the voluntary sector.  
"Accessing learning content through training videos allows the voluntary sector to reduce the overall cost of training, while still maintaining a similar experience to the traditional instructor-led model."
We have previously discussed screencasts as a method of delivering a flipped training programme. Screencasting, also referred to as screen recording or screen capture, is a video recording of the activity on a computer screen. Recordings are usually accompanied by a voice commentary from a presenter, or a webcam video walking the viewer through on-screen activity. While there are applications for this type of learning content in software and IT training, and as part of an in-house programme, screencasting can also be used within the voluntary sector.
Where subject matter experts are required to provide training on a specific topic, a screencast recording can be made of any presentation they would usually give in a formal instructor-led session. By including a voiceover and recording of themselves talking, a real-life session is essentially recreated in digital video format. 

Digital learning resources

Providing learning materials in a screencast format overcomes cost issues for the voluntary sector. Although the digital version of the session cannot match the engagement of real-life, it is arguably the next best thing. The cost of travelling to a central city is negated, as is the time out of office needed to attend a seminar. Trainees can watch recordings as required, meaning training can fit around other priorities. While there is still an inherent cost for the value of the training resource, the overall cost is reduced.  
One difference with video resources is the level of interaction. While viewers cannot interact directly with the video while watching, there is a plethora of methods available for follow-up with a trainer. In addition to email or a formal follow-up, resources such as Twitter, online communities and discussion forums, including those on TrainingZone, provide the facility to follow up on what has been learnt and share experience with others working in the sector.
As formal sessions, and their digital equivalents, can be quite lengthy, each video can be broken up in to short, easy to digest sections, or 'chunks'. Chunked content can improve retention, and increases the chances for mastery. Mastery refers to the outcome of trainees mastering a particular topic, for example having a deep understanding of governance guidelines for charities.


Accessing learning content through training videos allows the voluntary sector to reduce the overall cost of training, while still maintaining a similar experience to the traditional instructor-led model. While video resources cannot match the level of interaction an in-person meeting affords, they are a useful compromise for any organisation with one eye on their budget.  

Case Study: KnowHow NonProfit

KnowHow NonProfit is an online support site for individuals working in the charity and voluntary sector. The site aims to provide charities and voluntary organisations of any size with easy access to guidance, training, resources and advice.

KnowHow provides access to engaging training materials, delivered by experts working in the voluntary sector. The company faced a challenge in providing training to small- and medium-sized organisations that are located throughout the UK.  
The limited amount of accessible training available in the voluntary sector led KnowHow to bring the training experience online, providing a low-cost way of delivering quality learning content. The delivery medium needed to focus on an informal approach to learning where trainees could review and absorb materials outside of a formal, instructor-led scenario. KnowHow estimates 80% of learning that takes place in the workplace happens informally, and the organisation wanted to encourage trainees to learn in their own time with online resources.
KnowHow developed a range of screencast training courses, covering a breadth of topics essential to the smooth running of a charity or voluntary organisation. Topics covered include finance, fundraising, governance, team management and developing web content. Each course is accessed online and consists of four videos, lasting 4-8 minutes. Users can also access discussion forums designed for individuals in the voluntary sector.
The training videos are based on presentations provided by experts and trainers from the voluntary sector. With the videos in place, individuals in small and medium charities can learn online without having to travel to a central location for a day long course. The training videos can be accessed as required by users, meaning they can learn in their own time.
KnowHow also encourages users to submit their own ideas for videos in the site's forums. Users can vote on ideas put forward, with those proving most popular developed and made available online.
Matt Pierce is customer engagement manager at TechSmith Corporation. For more information please visit He can be found tweeting on @piercemr

No Image Available

Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.


Thank you!