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Deciding about duration of a Training or Awareness Session

Posted by Zeeshan, 27 October 2010 · 2,227 views

I have seen in many small and medium sized organization that training and development is managed as one of the most ineffective management process. HR, Admin or personnel department usually fulfills the documentation or record-keeping requirements by just delivering a life-less poorly planned session and maintaining the attendance records as evidence for showing to the auditor. Taking into account many known plus unseen limitations and hindrances, Top Management, Senior Management and HR Management should consider "Training & Development" as a key process in organizational development. This is not just a bookish statement but is proven and strongly recommended by all Quality and HR gurus world wide.

It is not possible to cover all aspects of training and development process in one go, however, I would like to draw the attention of readers towards one of the very important aspects that is related to the planning phase of a training & development process - Decision for the duration of a training or awareness session.
A member on this forum once asked "I need to assemble and train a team of internal auditors for BRC.............I am getting offers of 1 and 2 day courses. Obviously the longer ones are more expensive (though not that much and it does vary) but what do you reckon is "about right" for the duration? Is one day not really enough...?"

I replied there "Decision about duration of training session depends on three main factor.

1- Personnel competencies. (Novice, Professionals, Already trained auditors in other standards etc.)


2- Investment. (Course fees, traveling cost for outside venues, number of of working hours consumed etc.)


3- Time-line (close deadlines, packed schedules, etc.)

It is obvious that in a day or two all the trainees do not learn all the auditing skills and become fully conversant with the auditing standard. IMO if your personnel are not competent enough you should consider a two day session because obviously two days are better than one day for learning something."
The above question and answer are related to the outsource training program. Such programs are normally limited in options and choices and are with standard durations. The most common and real situation for decision making regarding duration of a session is related to the internal training or awareness programs.

So expanding the scope of this query and its reply by including scenario of any type of training or awareness session we can see all the three factors seem to play effective role in such decision making too.
I just want to add one another small note here. While deciding about the duration of a training and awareness session, time for evaluation and other activities (Verbal assessment + written assessment + Q/A + group activities) should also be considered precisely. Presentations and Training material should be designed to match the planned duration otherwise a program with marvelous presentation and well-designed training material could go out of the boundaries of the three - time, stamina (of trainees) and expectations (of management).




Thanks Zeeshan, some excellent tips. I would add this one thing. I would much prefer 1/2 a day training that is properly and practically applied back at the workplace over a lifetime of learning that is never applied. To me learning comes from many sources, but it takes motivation, discipline, encouragement and opportunity to apply that learning. If you cannot give that commitment as an individual or a company then don’t bother.

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