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Workplace Training, Offsite Training or Open Courses

Helping You Use IT Better

There are 3 deliveries of three forms of computer training, which one is best for you? The following can help decide.

Workplace Training

Workplace training is the provision of a training course for a closed group of people from the same organisation at their normal place of work. Workplace training is ideal for organisations which have a number of people all needing training on the same subject. These are the main advantages:

  • The training can be scheduled at a time and date to suit your organisation. For groups of three or more, workplace training is usually the most cost effective option and for larger groups it can be far less expensive than public courses, potentially saving hundreds of pounds.
  • Training can be tailored to the needs of your organisation. This may happen formally by agreeing changes to the agenda before the course, or informally when the trainer responds to requests from the group to focus on particular areas, or skip others during the course. Delegates learn with their colleagues, where they often feel more comfortable and more able to ask questions, so get more out of the training session.
  • Staff are at their normal place of work, and may be able to deal with any urgent issues arising during breaks. No travel or accommodation costs are incurred for the staff attending the course.
  • The downside of workplace training is that delegates are more easily interrupted by colleagues or "business as usual" work demands, which sometimes leads to them returning late from breaks. This reduces the effectiveness of the training for them, and can also be distracting for other delegates on the course.

Offsite Training

Offsite training is where training is provided for a closed group of people from the same organisation, but not at their normal place of work – such as a training centre or nearby hotel. The advantages are similar to those for workplace training:

  • The training can be scheduled at a time and date to suit the organisation.
  • For groups of four or more, offsite training can be less expensive than public courses.
  • Travel costs can often be minimised by choosing a venue which is near to the normal workplace.
  • Training can be tailored to the needs of the organisation, as described in Workplace Training above.
  • Delegates learn with their colleagues, where they often feel more comfortable and more able to ask questions, so get more out of the training session.
  • No facilities or equipment need to be provided by the organisation requiring the training.
  • Though more expensive than workplace training, offsite training can be the most cost effective solution for organisations who don't have suitable premises of their own to host a training session.

Open (Public) Courses

Open or Public courses are courses are open to anyone. A single course is usually attended by people from different organisations. These are the advantages:

  • No facilities or equipment needs to be provided.
  • If the training is only required by one or two individuals, it can be less costly to send them on public courses.

But there are significant downsides to choosing public courses, which are:

  • You have to fit in with scheduled dates and times, which may not suit your requirements.
  • The course content cannot be altered to your requirements, as others will have chosen to attend the course based on the standard, published agenda.
  • Delegates learn in mixed groups with members not in their organisation.
  • Some people can feel inhibited by this, and tend not to ask questions or speak up if they don't understand what is being taught.
  • Delegates have to travel to wherever the course is being held, and this can incur travel and accommodation costs on top of the apparent cost of the training. So the total cost to your organisation may be higher than it first seems.
  • For the delegates, it usually means a longer day too.

Summary

Weigh up the pro's and con's of each option to determine which offers the best training solution for your requirements, but as a general rule we would recommend that if you are an individual looking for a course for yourself and you have a limited budget, then a public course is probably the best option. If you are an organisation which needs to arrange training for two or more staff, it is probably best to choose workplace training if you have the facilities, or offsite training if you don't.