Running IT Training Off-Site
When you have an IT Training project to rollout, it may not always be practical to host courses on-site, due to room availability, number of PCs needed, etc. Using an external training venue kitted out with the latest equipment is an obvious solution to the problem, but make sure you've covered all your bases before rollout, otherwise this seemingly perfect solution could turn into your worst nightmare ...
Here are our top ten considerations when running IT training off-site:
What support does the provider offer during setup and while training is running? Do they assume that your IT department will handle all the data uploads? What support is included in your hire cost and what's extra?
You may be loading company sensitive data onto the provider's systems, so how are they protecting it? A confidentiality agreement is a must to cover you in the event that someone other than the intended trainees gets their hands on your information.
If you are running courses that require data to be stored for retrieval later on, you'll need backups taken at least at the end of each day. Some providers will run backups during lunch breaks, but if you're going to do this, make sure you know how long it will take and allow time for over-run so you don't eat into your afternoon session.
If you need to start from scratch each day, how easy will it be to refresh data? You may need to have multiple clean user logins set up if refresh is not possible overnight. The other option would be to manually delete data for each login after training, but we advise against that for the sake of your sanity!
Most providers will offer this option as standard, but do you really need it to run your course? You may be charged extra for internet access, but more importantly, would you rather people were listening to your delivery or checking their Hotmail?!
How up to date is the equipment you'll be training on? Will it meet the needs of the software used in your courses? What platforms are supported? What versions of standard software, e.g. web browser, are available?
Most providers will have multi-user licenses for common software like Microsoft Office, but if you are training on bespoke software, you'll need to check out your licensing obligations. Some software providers will grant free training licenses for the duration of the program, but others charge so speak to them early in the piece as this may have a big impact on your rollout costs.
Depending on the type of course you're running, there may be a requirement to host software on multiple servers. Some providers are happy for you to provide your own servers that they can hook into their network, which will reduce their fees for setup and rollout.
If you are running multiple courses of the same content at one time, what happens when everyone clicks "send" or opens a web browser? Speed issues can be a major cause of frustration for trainers and trainees and can also be the difference between the success and failure of your rollout.
What happens if the training venue goes up in smoke the week before your rollout to 500 participants? Do they have any contingency for an alternate site? Does their insurance cover payout to you for disruption to the business in the event that training cannot take place as scheduled? In the event of system failure, are they able to rollback or reload data, and how long will that take? Brainstorm the worst possible scenarios and make sure they're all covered.
Karen Moloney is a Learning and Development Consultant who specialises in Instructional Design and e-Learning. She has been in the business of people development since 1990 and is the founder and Director of Get Me Learning Resources. Karen can be contacted via her website www.getmelearningresources.com
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