No Image Available

Sophie Reynolds

Ricardo plc

Learning & Resourcing Specialist

Read more from Sophie Reynolds

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

Providing solutions to individual learning needs


I’m often asked to schedule classroom training for people within my organisation.  We are a small company (about 350 employees across 3 countries) and I rarely have sufficient interest in any particular course to run a classroom training session.  I find that four people on a course create enough interaction (just) to make a classroom course worthwhile but having 3 of fewer people on a course does not give a good enough outcome for the participants.

Where people have a specific and pressing issue to solve, I generally provide 1:1 training or coaching around the specific problem or issue using a questioning approach and bringing in relevant skill steps from whichever courses are appropriate to help that person solve their particular problem. This works really well, I get excellent feedback and people are able to go away and put the skills they have learned or the plan they have created into action straight away.

My problem is where delegates do not have a particular issue to address.  They are working well in their role but typically, someone might want to join a classroom course to “see if I could be doing anything better” or to “get some tips” about how other people might approach a situation – not one that is necessarily a problem for them, just to get some different ideas.  Their requests are genuine and they have a positive attitude to their own development.  However, if I schedule a classroom course, they are often the people who drop out at short notice because an urgent issue has arisen elsewhere.  This often means that a classroom course has to be cancelled and that the people who can still attend aren’t able to.

I feel like I could be doing more to address the genuine development needs of these people (whether they drop out of training at short notice or not).  Does anyone out their have any suggestions?



4 Responses

  1. Community of Practice

    Hi Sophie

    Have you ever considered a Community of Practice? If you have a company Intranet you could set up a community based on whatever it is you want your members to learn.

    I run one for our authorised trainers who are located in 80 different countries and every week I post tips and advice. If anything more specific is required we can make sub groups. This way your target audience will be able to access your learning at a time to suit them. (there is a weekly mail with a link so no excuses for anyone not looking)

    A result of this may well be classroom based courses but you will have a lot more buy-in for them as you have tried the non direct route first.

    Hope that helps?



  2. two options.

    Hi Sophie

    Option 1 is to buy them a place on an open course.  This will give them the opportunity to "get some tips" from outside their own company and industry which is a valauble influx of new ideas.  You would obviously have to be clear about the financial penalties of dropping out at the last minute!

    Option 2 is to turn it round on the individual and give them a task to investigate "what they could be doing better (and how)" and then report back….this provided extra developmental opportunities in research, presentation and motivation.  They could be given a 'budget' (of money and or time) and some "coaching" on how to go about this via Steve's communities of practice, books, elearning modules, study tours, white papers, external courses, etc.  By taking the timing element out (ie this is done over a three month period rather than on a given date that may be too busy) you ease that burden on them.


    I hope this helps


  3. Meeting Individual Learning Needs

    I wonder if you help your people think about how what they could get their individual learning needs met? There are lots of potential sources, the internet, each other, other staff, their managers, customers, suppliers, people doing similar jobs in different organisations, open courses etc etc.

    A group of people would work together to identify and share their individual developmental needs. Then they would help each other think how to meet them.

    Your job is to facilitate this process, challenge people's assumptions about what is possible and persuade your organisation to give people encouragement and space to develop.

    The people in the events could work in pairs or small groups. Listening to each other helps you think more clearly. They could continue in these formats, which could be virtual, to support each other and learn from their experience.

    Nick Heap Web: with 300 + free developmental ideas and resources

  4. Thanks everyone!

    Steve, Russ, Nick,

    Thanks very much for your really helpful ideas. I am particularly intrigued by the Community of Practice.  We run one of these for our Manager Development Programme but it hadn't occurred to me to use the same sort of thing for more specific topics. People seem to be increasingly more accepting of this type of self-directed learning so I think this combined with some sort of Problem Based Learning similar to Russ and Nick's suggestions could be really popular!

    Thanks again 🙂



No Image Available
Sophie Reynolds

Learning & Resourcing Specialist

Read more from Sophie Reynolds

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!