Blog Post

5 questions you should ask in response to each new learning request

I am always staggered at the number of new client requests I take each week where there is very little, if any, information forthcoming about what the learning is for.

Your learning provider is there to help – to make sure that they provide the best solution, not just taking a standard course off the shelf as an order filler (if this is what your learning provider does, then you know what you need to do….).

So – here are the 5 questions your learning provider should be asking you to make sure you get the right solution to your learning needs:

1 – Who is the learning for?
Your learning provider should be interested in who the delegates are going to be – senior management?  CEO/COO level?  administrators?  They are not asking to decide if this increases costs (because why would it?), but to help determine who they feel will be the best trainer to deliver the learning for you.  So help them out and let them know – a mixture is fine, but don’t leave them in the dark.

2 – Who established the learning need?
Or more to the point, are you sending people on a course rather than as a response to your staff asking for personal or professional development?  Your learning provider will want to know for the same reasons as point 1, and to establish what the expectations of the learners might be.

3 – What is the objective of the learning?
Again, are you clear about what you want the learning to achieve?  Is this to provide new skills, or develop existing ones? Your learning provider should be working with you on this to make sure that any suggested content is appropriate – and be suggesting a learning needs analysis if you are not sure, particularly for productivity training – one persons advanced is anothers intermediate after all.  If you are looking at soft skills training, is there a cultural objective or a skills objective behind the learning need?  You should be working with your provider to sort this out before the training is delivered, and if they are not asking these questions, well, I refer you back to my earlier point….

4 – When does the learning need to take place?
Timescales are important.  If you are working with your provider on customising content, its vitally important they understand your timeline so they can ensure they deliver & at least meet, if not exceed, your expectations.  They can also advise you on the achievability of your requirement and how best to manage it.

5 – What are your plans for evaluation & checking retention of learning?
Your learning provider should also be working with you to ensure you have a clear feedback & retention checking plan – if all you want to see is a happy sheet evaluation of the learning at the end of the course, no problem!  But how are you going to feed this back & act on any less than positive comments?  What is the position of your learning provider on this – how do they manage negative feedback?  Do they have quality standards & is everyone clear about them?

Now I can’t promise that every client will have all the answers, or indeed that you still find out that the answers you are given are actually a million miles away from an accurate picture of what is needed & why, but it’s a good start!

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