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Planning a course

Establishing the training need

Essential to the success of a training event is that the training offered is actually required. It is all too easy to assume that there is a training need just because you want to organise a particular training event. You must first consult your potential audience. If training is to be a useful experience it should be meeting a definite need on the part of the commissioning organisation and/or the potential participants. However, it should be noted that there can be a significant difference between what a group / agency thinks it needs and what it actually needs both in level and nature of training. It should also be clear that training is the appropriate response to what is required. Otherwise you will be faced with either a group uninterested in the training or no participants at all.

Before you begin planning the training find out what training is needed and what those involved will want. If training is being commissioned have a thorough discussion with the commissioning organisation to establish that the focus and content of the training will meet the requirement. If you are planning your own training event ask colleagues and your potential participants what they want. Depending on the type of training you are considering, the consultation can range from full-scale market research including interviews and questionnaires to informal chats at professional meetings. The former would be suitable for a major training programme such as a distance learning course. Sometimes you can only assess the training need by drafting a training event programme, advertising it and seeing what response you receive.

It is important to remember that training is not only for those without any experience or expertise in the training area. It can also be aimed at established practitioners who need to update their knowledge and skills, for example when new standards or legislation have been introduced.

Checklist to assist in assessing and planning the training

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Last updated: 20 December 2005