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Seb Anthony

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I'd be interested to hear of colleagues thoughts on the key criteria to use when assessing the suitability of an external course. My thoughts so far are:

- Cost
- Venue / location
- Relevant Aims / Objectives
- References/feed back from last course
- Accreditation / recognition of supplier
- What evaluation is offered / completed
- Trainers style
- The types of learning interventions employed
- Resources available on the day / after the training
- Further ongoing support / advice?

I am looking to produce a simple guide for staff and managers to use when sourcing courses outside of the organisation.

with thanks,
Rob Parker.
Robert Parker

3 Responses

  1. Selecting external training

    I’d suggest:
    – VFM (cost/price, travel costs, time, likely value, cost of alternatives, cost of not doing it)
    – Venue / location (convenience, facilities – including disability friendliness, accomodation)
    – Aims / Objectives (relevance, benefits to the individual, organisational benefits)
    – Reputation (References or recommendation, feedback from last course, institutional credibility and standing)
    – Quality (Accreditation or recognition of supplier, QA process, ability to offer quals)
    – Follow through (approaches to support to transfer of learning, evaluation, after care service)
    – Trainers’ credentials (subject expertise – quals and/or level of experience, training expertise – quals and level of experience, sector experience)
    – Training design (The types and mix of learning interventions – engaging, practical, underpinned by sound theory or evidence of what works, any blended options or workplace support, materials and resources)
    – Time and timing (how long, how soon, choice of dates, how suitable)
    – Customer service (friendly but professional, ease of booking, flexibility)

    And, of course, how often they post useful advice free of charge on the internet!!!


  2. I would also look beyond the training
    I think I would also be looking at the evaluation of the training, is it going to meet your business need and how will the impact be measured.

  3. Assessing Training Providers Completed Document
    Sourcing external courses
    Use the following checklist to help you decide on whether an external supplier or course is relevant and of sufficient quality for your need.
    The Supplier, Is customer service friendly but professional, what is the ease of booking like is there flexibility?

    What is the feedback like from delegates attending the last course? Can the supplier send contact details of referees?

    What is the reputation of the provider, its credibility and standing?

    The course, What are the aims and objectives of the session; are these relevant to the need of you/the participant/ the organisation?

    What are the types and mix of learning interventions – engaging, practical, underpinned by sound theory or evidence of what works, any blended options or workplace support, materials and resources)

    Where is the course being delivered; the venue and accommodation (think through public transport, parking, cost of travel, and accessibility – especially for disabled employees)

    Is lunch or refreshments offered? Can they cater for special requirements (Religion, kosher/vegetarian/vegan food)? If not are there facilities close to the venue to allow participants to purchase food and drink? Is there a dress code?

    What is the schedule for the day? When does the course start and end? Are there any accommodation requirements and are these included in the price? Is there a choice of dates available?

    What happens if the participant is delayed and arrives late?

    How many participants are there per course

    Recognition, Is the supplier or course accredited/certificated with a recognised body/organisation and is this important?

    If the course is accredited is there an exam or test as part of the course (and how many participants pass/fail, what happens if participants fail, what costs are involved)

    Does attending the course qualify the person in any way or allow them to access further support/resources/help?

    Ongoing support, Is a help line available for questions or queries after the course (useful especially for IT courses)? What support is offered after the course?

    The trainer, What is the delivery style of the trainer or course facilitator; will this style suit the delegate?

    What is the trainers credentials? Expertise, subject and sector experience, qualifications

    Evaluation, What evaluation is completed as part of the course and can you see the completed feedback?

    Is there any follow through after the course to ensure learning is transferred to the workplace?

    Costs, Cost – what budget do you have and how much do you want to spend (an average daily rate, for an average course would be in the region of £400-£600). What is the cost of alternate courses?

    How should payment for the course be made and when; can we be invoiced?

    What is the cost of not doing the course?

    Us, Brief the organisation on who we are as an organisation and the participants role and responsibilities


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