Elements of an Employee Training Program: Options for Employee Training Program Design

CoursesYou have been tasked with designing an employee training program from scratch. There are many options available and choosing the right option for an employee training program design means carefully considering what you’d like the employee training program to offer.

Option 1: Course or Workshop Catalog – Rotation

A course or workshop rotating catalog requires creating or purchasing workshops or courses that can be offered to employees on a rotating, regular schedule.    Courses or workshops can be rotated on a fixed schedule or you can offer a set number per quarter or year.

Pros: pre-determining the rotation allows you (and the instructor) to plan ahead and also helps employees schedule their training.

Cons: employees must wait for the course or workshop they want to come up in the rotation again.

Option 2: Course or Workshop Catalog – On Demand

A course or workshop on demand catalog requires creating or purchasing workshops or courses that can be offered to employees when demand is sufficient.   This structure requires a registration system that alerts you when you have the minimum number of participants you need to run the workshop or course.

Pros: you never have to run a workshop or course with low numbers.  You run the course only when you have met your minimum enrolment numbers.  This structure can encourage learners to promote the course or workshop so that registration minimums will be met.

Cons: employees must wait for the course or workshop they want to acquire enough registrations.  Also, it is very tough to pre-plan the training event  if it is delivered in a  classroom (booking venue, trainer, catering etc.).

Option 3: Create a Certificate Program

If you want to build a set of competencies around a related theme such as competencies that potential leaders would need to build to move into leadership roles, then a certificate program may be your best option.  To create a certificate program, determine what skills are foundational and then what skills require the foundational knowledge as pre-requisites so you can determine the order learners need to complete each workshop, course or module.   Determine the number of courses or set of courses the learners need to complete to receive the certificate.  Also determine what a passing grade looks like for each course or workshop.  For example, is participation sufficient or do they need to successfully complete a project or test to receive a certificate?

Pros: Employees appreciate receiving a certificate if they have committed to training and spent many hours dedicated to completing each course or workshop.  It gives learners something to put on their resume, in a career portfolio or framed on their wall.  The cohort model (a group taking a series of courses or workshops together) also allows for interactivity and relationship forming.

Cons: Can limit the number of learners and enrollment start dates if the courses or workshops have to be taken sequentially.  This can be more work for the training, HR or line manager to develop as it requires a set of courses that build off of each other.

Option 4: Create a School or University

If you have the resources to think big, you can create a school or university within your organization.  Some organizations use a name like “Name of Organization U” e.g. Acme U.  Generally labeling a training program a university or school requires a number of certificate programs, courses and workshops for employees to choose from so it can be a good option for larger organizations that have pre-existing training they want to package into a certificates and a cohesive bigger program.

Pros: Program name is easily branded (banners, t-shirts, sweatshirts etc.) which makes promotion a snap.  Also, it may help a training manager or operational manager leverage more resources (budget, website space, curriculum designers, etc.).

Cons: Can take a long time to build up enough courses, workshops and certificates so that learners identify the program as being worthy of the university label.

Determining the type of employee training program from the many program design options available can be challenging.  However, weigh the pros and cons and consider the needs of the learners and the organization and the choice will become apparent.

Copyright © 2013 Joni Rose of Career Minded Consulting Services. All rights reserved. Any unauthorized use will constitute an infringement of copyright. Please contact Joni Rose for reprint permission. 

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