Fancy packaging isn’t everything … Training is like a box of chocolates (part 2)

Last time we looked at the idea that training is like a box of chocolates and looked at learning styles. Before we get too excited by all that chocolate I think we should spend some time looking at the packaging.

So would you buy this box of chocolates? if the answer is yes, why?


I expect you are thinking it is eye-catching, a nice colour with a pretty bow. It looks expensive therefore you expect the chocolates inside to be of high quality……..On the other hand, you might say it is too fancy, too much wasted packaging at the expense of the contents inside.  Both viewpoints are perfectly valid, and need to be borne in mind if you were the company selling the product.

In Learning and development when we are putting together a learning event, whether it be a classroom based course or more often these days an e-learning or blended course, we need to put ourselves in the shoes of our customers and see what they see. It’s not just the content and delivery of the course that’s important, but the packaging around it. Every event should be treated as a unique marketing experience, especially if you are looking for repeat custom. If your box of chocolates looked good but tasted awful, and with no way of contacting the manufacturer for a refund, the chances are pretty high that you won’t buy them again, so the company has lost potential sales.

So here are a few things I believe you need to think about when planning your event:

·         How do you publicise your learning event? Website? Email? Personal recommendation?

·         How good are your joining instructions? – are they clear about location, time, include maps and tell delegates if lunch is included?

·         If it is an e-learning course do learners know how to access the learning platform, do they have a username and password?

·         Have you given thought to the location and timing so that delegates can get there at a reasonable time? Have you avoided school holidays or other major corporate events that may impact on people being able to attend? Do they know how long the event will last, or the piece of e-learning will take to complete?

·         Is there any pre-course work that needs to be completed? If so have delegates been given clear instructions on how to complete it, and when by?

·         Do delegates know how to contact the trainer/venue/ L & D team in case they have any questions or problems?

·         Does your event have clear objectives and outcomes and does your learner and their manager understand their relevance to their development needs?

If you can get the packaging around your event right, there is a much better chance that the right learners will attend your course and their development needs will be met.  Of course your content needs to be right as well, but that’s a topic for another time!



About carolwoolley

I’m a Mum with passion for reading, astronomy and music. I sing 2nd Alto in the Kidderminster Valentines female voice choir and play the clarinet and flute in the Bewdley Concert Band. By profession I am a Chartered Librarian, qualified trainer and currently a Deputy Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages. Follow me on twitter @woolleybear64
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