A very common question that comes up almost every week when I advise trainers, is how long should a training day workshop be for? Indeed, this is an important consideration and one that you should be asking if you plan to provide training days for others. The answer is that there are definite time-frames that should be used and these vary according to certain key factors. The following times-frames are worth considering:
If three to four hours is enough time to go through the key concepts and to allow for time to practice these concepts, then a half-day training day will suffice, This time-frame if very good, for example, for refresher courses and for courses that are fairly basic to master, such as business writing.
A full day training day can be the ideal time-frame for the majority of courses given that this allows plenty of time to cover the key concepts, and allows for interactive practice sessions and to wrap up the training day. Introductory courses are especially suited to one day programmes.
Some courses certainly need more than one day, to allow enough time for more complex and difficult to understand subjects. Two days is enough time to go over harder concepts more than once i.e. it allows time to refresh these concepts on the second day and also to cover new material. Two days also allows plenty of time to practice what is taught, such as through role play and interactive sessions.
We tend to design very few courses that extend to three days given that there is much less demand although we offer courses that are of bespoke design and there is occasionally the demand for 3 day courses. Three day courses are especially suited when there are difficult theories and other complex skills to grasp and to master.
You might also need to consider issues such as the number of people the training must be completed for. Whilst I prefer to try and keep training to a maximum of twelve people, when possible, the number of delegates can sometimes be dictated to you by the company you are training. You may receive a request to train 20 people and you might find that this means needing to adjust the training schedule workshop to best accommodate this number. This can turn a 2 day training programme into a 3 day training programme in certain circumstances. Likewise, you might find yourself offering two seperate one and a half day workshops for 10 people apiece.