Blog post

The Secrets to Successful Group Training

By gocourses 08 Aug 2018

So, you are looking to arrange group training but not sure where to start?  Read on, for our guide to how to arrange group training that will have the attendees signing your praises from the roof tops.

Assessing the attendees needs

The first thing you need to do, prior to arranging any kind of group training, is, assess the needs of the attendees (often referred to as delegates).  You can often read lengthy, dull, boring articles about conducting detailed and highly complex training needs analysis but in reality, the process is actually much more straightforward.  Simply put, we need to understand the needs of the attendee, but we must also understand that people are often reluctant to engage with training, so from the start the process needs to be as admin free as possible.  We suggest a simple questionnaire, which aims to broadly ascertain where the attendee is right now, and you then match that with where you would like them to end up.  Sounds simple, right?  Well, trust me, it should be.

Our top tip is focus on asking the delegates what they want to learn, less so on what you want to teach them.  The trick is to achieve both outcomes.

Selecting the right course

So, you’ve got the group in some sort of order and you know what they need to learn, now it’s time to select the right course.  For starters, any training provider worth their salt will collate your attendee questionnaires and from there they will be able to pretty accurately advise as to the best course or courses to suit your needs.  Most courses actually tend to be very short these days, we are talking 1-2 days maximum.  What we do is propose a full course overview which covers the specifics you need and then the ‘nice to have’s’.   The right course will often form the basis for any follow-on training so it’s important that you pick the best training provider who you feel can achieve this for you.  Right, content agreed, its onto logistics.

Our top tip if you aren’t sure of course duration; pick a shorter course to get you started as you can always plan further training if needed.

The training environment

Around 70% of training conducted in businesses these days, tends to happen within the premises of the customer, whether it be an office, factory, powerplant, it doesn’t really matter.  However, what is important is to ensure that the chosen room is bright and airy (ideally, lots of natural day light), there is comfortable seating for everyone, a white board, screen or projector for the trainer to use, free from work interruption’s and an adequate supply of tea and coffee!  If people feel comfortable, they feel relaxed, if they feel relaxed then they are far more likely to get the most from the training session.  Some training courses can be quite intense, so the better the environment, the better the impact.

Our top tip is to make sure everyone’s mobile and email is off; don’t spoil the day when things can wait till later.

On the day

It’s very important to send out an invite to all attendees at least 1 week in advance of the training course, but ideally the more notice, the better.  We suggest sending a reminder as well, if you can a couple of days before the course, so that everyone knows what time to arrives, what they might need to bring with them, and in some cases, any pre-course work that they may need to do.  Most courses do not require pre-course work so don’t worry, but some more formal courses, like say Prince2, do require some work to be completed in advance but you will always get plenty of time to achieve that.

With everyone seated your trainer will introduce themselves and go over the course agenda.  You will have seen a course outline in advance anyway, so this is very much a case of confirming how the day will pan out and set the tone for the session while also confirming the breaks and lunch arrangements, etc.   The majority of courses are what we call hands on, practical courses, typically run as a workshop type session.  While some training sessions can be quite academic, by the very nature of their subject matter, or dependence on a governing curriculum, a good trainer will always try and encourage delegate participation as much as possible.  After all, it’s better to be doing then not doing.  

Our top tip is to encourage delegate interaction as much as you can throughout the day; people will get so much more from it.

After the course

Once the course has completed, it’s really important to understand that this time is significant.  Delegates are going to be bursting with their new-found knowledge and skill, so make sure you take the opportunity to get some feedback and try and get it within 24 hours of course completion.   We use a feedback system called ‘delighted’.  Delighted asks a couple of very simple questions 1) how you rate the course (this is called NPS) and 2) some free text feedback.  The problem with asking lots of questions is that firstly, people don’t want to face a lengthy questionnaire, who does? Secondly, they tend to provide fairly pointless data, which might look ok in a spreadsheet, but it’s not really giving feedback.  If you let somebody speak freely, then they will give far more insights than would tend to come from a questionnaire.

Our top tip is to send the delegates the feedback link within 24 hours and reward them with a training credit for completion.

Post course support and follow-on training

It’s important with any training, that if appropriate, post course support is provided.   The support may take the form of course notes or documentation, or it may be that the delegates have a certain period where they can continue to contact the trainer.  Whatever form it takes, it’s important to ensure delegates can keep on learning and have the support they need after the initial event has concluded.   

In many cases we often uncover further training needs which need exploring.  It may be that the training level needs to be advanced for the same subject or that a completely new training need has been discovered, whatever the outcome, this can form part of the learning plan moving forward.

Our top tip is don’t ignore requests for further training; your best employees are the most eager to learn

The benefits of group training at your office:

  • Saves time and travel
  • Great for group bonding
  • Makes the most of your budget
  • Course content can be tailored
  • Delegate learning retention much higher

We hope you found this article useful and informative, so please feel free to share or comment or link or get in touch.   You can also visit our in house training page for further information.