As organizations seek to optimize training budgets On-Site Training (OST) can make a lot of sense and can break-even with as few as 3 students. We are doing more and more on-site training and while your organization's requirements for on-site training will most likely be unique we offer the following general observations:
Cost: Where an organization has a number of people it wishes to send on the same (or similar) training courses, on-site training can offer significantly lower cost-per-student starting with as few as 3 students. We charge a fixed daily rate for a single instructor plus travel and lodging expenses. Depending on the location travel will typically be the most expensive item and therefore three, or longer, day courses will tend to be more cost-effective.
Common Interest: Where all the students are from the same organization the operational terminology and business models used are common and shared by all students. Such commonality of interest tends to reduce the barriers to questions and thus can significantly increase knowledge acquisition.
Customization: On-site courses offer the possibility of customization. This can occur as a deliberate customer requirement in which case some additional costs may be incurred though in our experience this is fairly rare. Even when standard courses are given on-site we request details about the customer's operational configurations and implementations and try to modify examples to reflect the organization's usage. In addition we always try to tailor the last day of any three or four day course based on both the standard material and a discussion with students at the end of the second last day. This is always a no-charge service designed to optimize student knowledge acquisition.
Coverage: We allow up to 10 students on all our courses. While we do not encourage customers to add people just for the sake of reducing apparent costs we do encourage customers to add as many people as is sensible from the organization. Thus: bringing forward training, adding specialists from other areas who have dealings with the subject matter being taught and scheduling refresher training (perhaps advanced components only) all represent legitimate reasons to add people to on-site courses. Adding unqualified students who may, or may not, have a requirement to cover the subject matter will tend to reduce both the quality and effectiveness of the course(s) for other students.
Concentration: One of the major negatives of on-site courses is that students can be contacted if there is a problem. Concentration will be broken, knowledge acquisition opportunities may be lost. While this risk is inevitable we do ask line management to think hard before making contact with a student - is the short term gain worth the risk to the long term gain of the student's knowledge acquisition? It is that simple. Nevertheless stuff happens, emergencies do arise and problems can demand immediate solutions. In the event that such events happen we always work with any student(s) involved to cover missed material at a convenient time. In an extreme case we even scheduled a one day course hiatus to enable an organization to resolve its problem while making sure that student knowledge acquisition objectives were achieved.
Facilities: For on-site training the organization is responsible for providing the training facilities which consist of a desk for each student, computer/laptop (either windows or *nix depending on the course) and a projector with a suitable screen. We prefer that all students have Internet access but this is not essential. We provide all course material one week in advance in electronic format only. Course notes and slides are provided in PDF, Microsoft Word and OpenOffice (ODA) formats.
In summary, On-site Training (OST) can offer significant advantages and works like this:
You tell us what you want and when you want it
We send you a document defining what we understand is being requested
Once the content and dates are agreed we give you a fixed price.
You accept or not as the case may be.
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