Is this training course any good?
October 18, 2012 5 Comments
I really do wish I had $1 for every time a manager or a staff member has asked me that question. It usually comes in an email with a flyer about some program or other that has landed in their inbox (electronic or otherwise) and its sparks interest for either themselves or a staff member.
Of course how does one determine if a course or a program is good or valuable or will produce a discernible ROI for the organisation from a one or two page pdf flyer. Now I could of course just simply look over the provided information and given that overview say yes or no and if I say yes, indicate that I would like the person attending to evaluate the program utilising our standard evaluation tools and provide that feedback to me so I could make a more informed decision in the future. This is not too much of a big deal when the program in question costs between $50 and $150 per participant, particularly if we are only going to send one person as almost an evaluator. However given that the cost of these programs often runs in the high 100’s or in some cases 1000’s of dollars there may actually be no positive benefit in sending someone along, unless there is some other incentive , to evaluate the program.
I could also take the time to ring the provider and talk to them about the content, delivery etc ask for referees, ring them, talk to other people and see whether there is a consensus on the value of the course or program, the problem with that is it takes time, in some cases a lot of time, particularly given that on an average week we would probably get 6-12 contacts from staff asking this question and on bad week, well lets just say a lot.
Now admittedly we do have a database of those programs which people have attended and found valuable and more often than not we can make recommendations based on that, same provider, same facilitator, good testimonials from people whose opinions we trust etc. but just as often we can’t, so it comes down to almost a gut feeling, based on experience etc, by either me or the manager in question or both of us (an a little bit of hope sometimes) that the program will actually be good and provide us with solid ROI for the staff that attend.
So I guess the question I am asking is how do people make these kinds of decisions, how do you decide it a course or a program is going to be worth sending staff to.