Whether you work for an educational entity (company or institution) or you want to share your knowledge and expertise in a professional field of any sort, maybe even thinking of turning this into a business, the innards of planning a training course are the things probably coming to your mind right now.
It can be an easy task or it can be a difficult task, and this will depend of your approach and starting point. We synthesized a series of steps, in what we think is a logical order, to organize a training course that your students will always remember with fondness. So here they are.
1. Planning a training course: setting an objective
Who are you teaching to, and what do you want people to learn from your course? What are the concepts and/or skills they need to master by the end of it? Putting this on paper first will answer a lot of the questions you are asking yourself about how to tackle the actual organizational part of putting the course together. Depending on the quantity of information that you need to teach, you will be able to decide whether it can be covered in a one day course, or the course needs to take place over several days or weeks.
Before you choose a date
Based on who are your students/trainees, when planning a training course you will be able to choose a date/dates that make/s it easy for them to participate. For example, if it’s a one full day course, yes, some people can get away with taking a day off from work to attend it (especially if it’s related to their day job). But you would have even more potential attendants if it takes place on a Saturday.
Spread it over several days
If it’s a longer course spreading over several days, you want to consider scheduling it on evenings so that can people can attend it after work. You could also structure it as a full weekend course (over Saturday and Sunday). If the quantity of information you want to teach is vast, you can split it in modules. This way you’ll give people the possibility to attend just one or several modules separately. Moreover, you can set a special discounted price for those who purchase the entire course. Since we’re at it, if you decide to use Metooo as the online event management platform for the course, you can set the course up as a group of connected events, having the separate modules as singular events. This way you’ll never lose track of who purchased each module, or who purchased the entire course.
The concrete, tangible outcome of this first step is your course plan or curriculum.
2. When and where
Now that the trainees/students you target, and the structure of the course are clear, choose the date/dates and venue. How far in advance to book the date highly depends of what attendance expectations you have. So, the more people you need to sign up, the farther in advance you need to book and announce your date/s, so you can have enough time to promote the course. If you plan to attract attendees coming from out of town, or if your course venue is out of town (let’s say, a photography retreat/bootcamp in the woods or at a historical site or touristic area), so if it involves attendees having to book transport and accomodation, you need to announce the date/s at least 6 months in advance.
As for the venue, it depends on your subject matter, the field of the profession/skills your course teaches. For most professions, an usual classroom will do. Pretty much any room in an office setting can be turned into a classroom by adding enough desks and chairs. Even a meeting room with a large table in the middle, and several chairs around it, could be a solution. Or, you could rent a classroom at a private school or institute.
Venues for creative fields
In more hands-on or creative fields, the venue issue becomes more demanding but also gives you more freedom to be unconventional. For a dressmaking or patternmaking course, you need a room big enough to fit at least one large cutting table and/or sewing machines. In case of a photography course, you’ll want to have it either in a studio or outdoors, at an interesting site. Think breathtaking panoramas/landscapes, or an old castle, or a neighborhood with picturesque architecture. Setting up a wedding planning course? Think of wedding venues in your area. For a floral design course, it would make the most sense to have it in a flower store, and so on.
3. Gather your course materials
The physical materials you’ll need will highly depend not only on the field, but also on the teaching techniques you’re going to apply. Is it going to be lectures and discussions only? Will you be also doing practical demonstrations, case studies, role-play? Can you afford to provide all materials yourself, or is it reasonable to ask for attendees to bring theirs?
The usual equipment you will need in most theoretical training courses is: a laptop, wifi connection, a projector, flipcharts or whiteboards, paper, pens, and the course hand-outs. For more practical courses you might need to think of a myriad other things, from geometry instruments to large quantities of flowers to cameras. We keep bringing up the case of photography courses. Here, it’s just to say that asking your attendees to bring their own cameras is a good example of not having to provide all the materials yourself.
4. Sort out the extra logistics
When planning a training course, depending on the duration and venue of your training course, you’ll also need to provide:
- refreshments, coffee breaks, options for lunch (you can set a deal with a nearby restaurant for a special group price, and include lunch in the attendance ticket
- options for accommodation: book rooms in a nearby hotel or b&b at a bulk rate, and create various types of tickets for the course: some without accommodation, and some with accommodation included.
- identify various ways to get to the venue and communicate them on the event web page and promotional materials: how to get there by car, public transport, train, and which is the nearest airport
When you need to promote a training course, you’re in a privileged position of having a very clearly defined target market, represented by people in that specific professional field, or people interested in that professional field, and usually within a clearly delimited geographical area. So most of the times, some well-targeted web marketing will be enough.
First, if you are experienced in the profession, you might already have a large email list of peers, and that’s a great place to start. If your event page is hosted on Metooo, you can create a beautiful email invitation. It will be in the same style as your event page. Then, you can import an email list from Gmail or Mailchimp and send the invite to all your targeted contacts in one move. And we’re talking up to 10.000 contacts per month!
Second, social media is another great option to promote your training course, as all platforms have well targeted ads options. Think Facebook for all fields (and we hope you are also part of some profession-centered groups!), Instagram and Pinterest for creative industries, and pay very special attention to LinkedIn.
Now, all the above aspects are well taken care of. Your course is well put together and interesting. It provides perspectives of professional or personal improvement for your attendees. So, all you need to do now is to sell the tickets, welcome your students, and teach the best possible course you’re capable of. And if it’s not you teaching the course in person, make sure you brought the best expert in the field that you could have possibly found. Because all the extras, materials, atmosphere, and promotions, even if necessary, won’t be as important as high quality informational content that people will take home with them.
7. Oh wait. There’s more. Feedback!
You might want to teach a short series of courses, or you might want to turn teaching into a business or career. But one thing is almost for sure. You wish to repeat the experience beyond that first time! So what you absolutely need, after your first session of courses is done, is your students’ feedback. This way you’ll see what went great and what needs improvements/adjustments to make the next time you’re planning a training course.
We hope you found this article useful and therefore that it will inspire you to share your knowledge in a well-planned way, stress free!