Blog Post

Knowing when to stop – why learning is hard work

There is often a disconnect between the L&D contact that you work with as a learning provider and the delegates that you provide learning to.  This is not neccessarily a bad thing, but it can lead to some misunderstandings that can cause problems in the classroom.

Delegate expectations are also part of the mix that as a learning provider you need to try and manage.

Quite often, the timings of a course, particularly if it is a productivity course like Excel or Project, are questioned during the booking process – typical queries would be:

  • Can’t you start at 9:00am?
  • Do you really need an hour for lunch?
  • That’s an early finish – don’t you run until 5pm?

To which the answers are:

  • No
  • Yes
  • No

But let me explain why.

For a course to start at 9:00am, you are expecting the trainer delivering it to be there half an hour beforehand, at least, to make sure they are set up and ready to start delivering at 9:00am.  This means someone needs to be available at the delivery location to let them in, pass on the H&S brief, show them where the loos/tea/training room are, and the training room needs to be ready for them.  Your delegates need to be signing in and registering for the course by 08:45 at the latest for a 9am start.  So – is this practical for your business?  Will you have someone there to do this?  Do you have the facility to set up the day before?  Can you rely on the delegates turning up on time so the course can start on time?  If the answer to these questions is Yes, then any good learning provider will work with you to get it sorted out – but the start time is 09:30 for a reason!

An hour for lunch gives everyone a chance to recharge their batteries and return to the course in the afternoon refreshed and ready to learn, including your trainer.  They need to not only get something to eat, but often then work through at least half of this break time reviewing what was covered in the morning session, adjusting the afternoon to make sure content is covered, evaluating how the content that has been delivered was received, updating exercise content and slide decks, and occasionally they might also get a chance to use the aforementioned loo!  Often delegates will stay and ask for extra help during break times too – and great trainers are always willing to share their knowledge & skill, even if they get indigestion later on….

Learning is hard work.  It’s hard work to deliver interactively, and it’s also hard work being the recipient of interactive learning.  There’s nowhere to hide.  Your learners are in a controlled environment for nearly 7 hours, being expected to learn & perform new tasks under the guidance of their instructor.  By 4 o’clock in the afternoon, the majority of the delegates can no longer remember what their name is, let alone how to construct & report on 4 different data analysis scenarios or PowerPivots. Finishing courses between 4 – 4:30pm avoids total burnout for both your trainer and your delegates, and allows for review and wrap up to finish off the day – slowing down the pace & allowing delegates to leave the classroom environment relaxed & happy.


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