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Seb Anthony

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How long should it take to design face to face training?


I'm currently trying to put together some KPI's for a team of designers.

Wondered if any of you had any ratios that you worked on for how long designing a piece of face to face training should take from scratch? We currently work on a ratio of 8:1 - 8 hours design for 1 hour of workshop. This time does not include TNA/Evaluation etc but pure pen to paper design time.

Just wondered if anyone worked to a similar ratio? What's realistic? I understand that the content of the material/experience of the designer has some impact but am just looking for a ball park figure.

Thanks in anticipation!
Dawn Gilbert

9 Responses

  1. a couple of thoughts
    Hi Dawn

    This has come up several times in the past so do a search in Any Answers, I’m sure you’ll find lots of info there.

    Regarding your 8:1 ratio, I’m afraid I have to ask the question;

    “If you were commissioning an external provider would you PAY for 8 days of design for a 1 day course?”


  2. Design time
    Design time varies with a number of factors. See these earlier threads:
    Internal inexperienced designers working on technical topics, with a lot of organisational politics going on (get approvals etc.) can take quite a while. Experienced commercial trainers on generic topics will charge more per day but may do it in a fraction of the time.

  3. 2 or 3 to one
    I have to agree that 8 days for a one day course seems exceptionally high! But I am sure you could easily use that time if you include research and planning meetings.

    As a freelance you have to work much faster than in-house designers. I am designing a two day course at the moment and have agreed 6 days design time. The breakdown is: 1 day for research and writing the outline design spec, 3 days to write the first draft, 1 day for the second draft and 1 day for post-pilot amendments.

    Hope this helps.

  4. Stepping back a little
    At first look 8:1 looks pretty high to me too.

    But… unlike the freelancers if you have the time, are happy with the investment you are making, are not struggling to fulfil all your l&d commitments and are getting great results – then I’d say why fix what ain’t broke?

    I would expect though for that level of investment an extremely polished, high level, minor tweaks only product.

  5. Reducing Your Design Time
    Hi Dawn, I’ve recently written a tip ‘Seven Ways To Slash Your Design Time’. I’m happy to forward you a copy if you would be interested.



  6. Depends on what you mean by face-to-face
    Development times depend on what sort of face-to-face training you are creating, the content (and the designer’s content knowledge) and existing materials.

    If you mean by face-to-face a Power Pont lecture then a multiple of a few hours (10 or so) is reasonable for newish materials and an experienced designer. But if you want better learning (learner centred leaning) then the time increases – for example for an in classroom simulation where the learners work in groups you can be looking at 300:1 ratios or higher.

  7. KPI’s in a creative environment?
    Hi Dawn
    bottom line is it will be very difficult to have design time as a KPI.

    KPI’s were never intended for use in creative environments, but for reasonably predictable activities.

    Unfortunately developing KPI’s for this type of work is just a ‘tick box’ exercise that will not add value.


  8. Quality of outcome
    How long is a piece of string?

    First let’s know how you’ll judge the training to be effective.

    It’s easy enough to set a limit on development time, and then be disappointed when the results don’t measure up.

  9. design time
    Ditto the other comments made – a rather high ratio indeed! Blowing my own trumpet here, but I have worked extensively with teams of trainers on design issues and pride myself in time/cost effective design mechanisms and approaches. Happy to chew the fat!

    Best regards



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