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Neil Pitts

Contract L&D Consultant

Learning & development consultant

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Metrics for costing workshop training


My organisation normally provides traditional classroom training consisting of lesson plans, presentations, assessment etc. and I have metrics for estimating costs but, I have been asked to look at estimating a 4 week workshop based training course and I don't have any metrics for that kind of course. And, as may become plain, I don't have much experience of designing purely workshop based training.

My theory at the current time is; a workshop still requires aims, objectives, key learning points, a beginning, middle and end just as a traditional classroom based course. I can therefore pretty much use the same or similar figures if I just take out the presentation development element.

My question is; would you good people work it out simply on that basis, i.e. a normal course minus the presentation or are there some amazing calculations that I can do to make my cost estimate more specific to workshop training? Or, am I barking up the wrong learning tree?

Incidentally, my workshop would be approximately 4 weeks in duration and include multiple software systems and items of equipment.

11 Responses

  1. And a silence filled the virtual room…..

    The sound of virtual tumble weed blowing gently across my computer screen is all I'm getting at the moment.

    Is this because I should be just looking at this as a normal (traditional in our case) piece of training and your silence is just telling me to get on with it? Or, are there no easy ways of working the sums for workshop based training? Or, are you all horrified at the very fact that I may be looking to do 4 weeks of workshops?


  2. Ill try
    Ill try and answer but it’s by no means scientificI would expect to be charged between 2.5k and 4k per person depending on subject area and other similar courses available.
    Not much help I know but a start.
    Good luck

  3. eh?

    Hi Neil,

    The relative silence may be because people like me are wondering what the problem is. Perhaps part of the confusion is about what you mean by "metrics" – do you mean standard cost headings that make up a template? Are there costs you have difficulty quantifying? I suspect you've already hit on the solution by simply extracting the bit that doesn't apply – the cost of presentation input.

    I came onto this topic because I thought you were having problems with the value (outputs) side of things, but measuring costs ought to be relatively straightforward, surely?

    Happy to discuss further.


  4. Ah… Try again perhaps

    I think the problem here lies with the question. I have grabbed a word 'metrics' that is bandied around all too regularly where I work and, run with it. Maybe I should start again.

    Margin isn't the problem. Costing training interventions that I am used too isn't an issue either. I have figures based on previous courses that I manipulate depending on whether we are working with existing material or must create new material. These figures factor in all the development stuff such as lesson plans, presentations, assessment etc.

    My problem is I suppose is that I am not used to (never done it) creating training that is entirely workshop based. I know I won't have to create a presentation, screen shots etc but my gut instinct says that otherwise it will be pretty much the same as creating a normal course.

    I think therefore that if I use my usual sums but remove the time needed to create a presentation that should give me the figures I am looking for. However, certain people within my organisation say "surely workshops are easy to do and therefore much cheaper to produce?" I recognise that they just want to come up with a good price for the customer but  my suggestion that this is not necessarily the case will fall on deaf ears if I don't have some figures or other experience to back it up. That's where Training Zone Any Answers comes in.

    My inability to articulate the question doesn't help I admit.

  5. I get what you mean….

    Hi Neil, I would say it is pretty much the same as preparing for a normal course, with the same costings. Yes, you won't have to cost the time to do a presentation, but you may need to do some prep creating activities for the workshop? You're still going to have to open and close the session, have aims and objectives. You're still facilitating the session as you would with presenting, it's just more interactive. Personally, I would cost my own prep the same whether using a presentation or not but I appreciate businesses differ!

    People may say workshops are easier, but as any trainer knows, you get in that room, with a bunch of people unwilling to take part or just generally shy and not participative and you'll need to have a few things up your sleeve to get things going. And these things don't just fall out of thin air onto your desk!


  6. Thanks

    I have now been informed that the delegates on this 4 week course will already be trained users so, will know the systems and equipment but will not have had a great deal of time actually using it.

    I think I now know how I'm going to 'sell' this one internally. The work is the same as it would be for any training intervention but there is likely to be a saving on time usually taken to develop presentation material plus the material base line we start from already exists so it is a case looking at existing Objectives etc and developing workshop material around that.

    Thanks for helping me talk through this one everyone.

  7. one last thought…..

    I have found that there are two reactions to materials for workshops:

    reaction A is happy that you have a set activity or exercise and that delegates will "do" it and then feedback their findings…..bosh, job done….quicker to produce than a presentation.

    reaction B is happy that you have a set activity or exercise and that delegates will "do" it and then feedback their findings…but then wants a very detailed description in the facilitator guide of every possible expected option, challenge, question, interaction, reaction, response and finding…this is potentially extremely valuable as a support for the facilitator when the delegates get stuck or don't interact well or you have a malcontent in the room who challenges every last request, but it takes a heck of a lot of know-how (and imagination!) to write and therefore can actually take much longer than a straightforward presentation to create

    That probably didn't help at all!


  8. Thanks Rus

    On the contrary, that did help. It is all evidence for my discussion here. Thanks for spending the time.


  9. Hanging coats without pegs takes inventive thought

    Sorry for the strange heading and for coming to this thread late in the day. The heading is basically the idea of a workshop over a presentation. a Presentation is great in that there are lots of pegs to hang coats on all you have to do is stick them to the walls and people will use them.

    However, as Rus says, a workshop requires you to provide some way of hanging coats but without the pegs. I'd argue design time for a workshop is longer and more detailed as it will likely take more time to structure and run efficently, buy your trainers stop watches is a top tip. you often need to think of more possible questions and challenges because you won't have the presentation to stop colleagues wandering off track.


  10. No problem for coming in late…

    I like your way of thinking here stark1001. It is very good of you to spend the time responding to my question. I will certainly be using your thoughts in my ongoing discussions with the programme managers.

Author Profile Picture
Neil Pitts

Learning & development consultant

Read more from Neil Pitts

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