What have we learned from this year's Grad Schemes?

We have the pleasure of providing annual graduate intake schemes for some of our clients. Last year saw some disruptions to the usual cycle, but there are signs of a return to normal service. 

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What have we learned from this year's Grad Schemes?

The financial pressures that many sectors experienced in 2020 saw a few of our clients exploring other formats, with one or two attempting to replace traditional longer-form instructor-led programmes with guided self-learning using on-demand eLearning platforms.

We’ve seen a general return to instructor-led training in 2021, but with useful lessons learned along the way.

(All of the quotes below are taken verbatim from delegate feedback forms we’ve received in the last few months.)

eLearning is a great supporting tool, but is no way a replacement for a real live expert.

There is no question of eLearning’s value as a supporting tool, and for some people it can be all they need. However the great majority of us seem to need (and really benefit from) the structure, support and in-the-moment tailoring that an expert instructor can provide.

This is a really interesting shift in behaviour that we’ve tracked over the last two years.

At first the post-training feedback was overwhelmingly in favour of a return to classroom, but on-going polling of our delegates suggests a significant majority now favour the remote-attendance experience.

There are a few factors at work here; I think with practice our instructors and delegates have got better at communicating by video link, and as our delegates’ home-working environments have become more comfortable the benefits of attending from home are coming to the fore.

However we are now also seeing a rise in requests for in-person training that is part of a wider team-building exercise – if that’s what you want, that works for us too!

‘’Fantastic. I've never previously found an instructor delivering an online course to be able to keep my attention over such an extended period."
‘’Highly engaging host who remained interactive and encouraged collaboration through remote delivery.’’
“It was great. The course worked really well over Zoom, perhaps even better than in person.”
“Remote delivery works well for me, especially because straight after sessions I can work on the content that was delivered, rather than have to use up half an hour or so of my time to return home.”
“Extremely effective- perhaps more so than in person. Very convenient to be able to do the course from home.”
“The course worked well, collaboration tools were easy to use and were used effectively by our team.’’

Formal scheduling of study time and project work into the training programme has a significant impact on effectiveness of training whilst reducing costs.

Two crucial and related factors in ensuring a successful programme:

  • Being realistic about the volume of content

  • Ensuring there is enough time for the delegates to absorb what they are learning

Duration is also tightly coupled with cost; so we’ve been exploring ways we can extend the learning time for the delegates without a proportionate increase in our fees.

We’ve been heading in this direction for some time, but this year has seen a big step change for many of the programmes we’ve delivered. Whereas classroom-time was usually the lion’s share of a training programme and personal study expected to happen ‘out of office hours’, this year we’ve been encouraging clients to choose a structure that puts the focus on guided project work and formal team development projects.

This structure has meant that we have successfully delivered a 20-day hands-on programme culminating in a formal show-and-tell from the attendees which is based on only 15 billable days. Reducing cost whilst delivering more effective training is a win for everyone!

“I know our team had a great time with the final project, we were provided with sufficient support and an appropriate amount of time to produce something of worth which by the end we all were proud of and could take ownership of.”
“Lots of time to work together on our projects. It was nice that we were left to our own devices to work at our own pace and design our projects too. The course content was good too and I feel like the pace was much better this week too.”
"It gave us freedom with our project at the end to tie together the whole experience, which made it good fun."

Despite the background of a global pandemic, we’ve seen a reduction of the impact of illness on both instructors and delegates

This was rather unexpected. Without wishing to diminish the terrible impact Covid19 has had on so many people, it seems a bit counterintuitive but moving training out of the classroom has actually led to a reduction in disruption to training delivery and attendance over non-pandemic times.

What have we learned from this year's Grad Schemes?

Again – there are a few factors at work here.

One of the biggest impacts of remote delivery has been on the working lifestyle of our instructors. Many courses are delivered out of commuting range, necessitating long hours of travel and many nights spent in hotels for the same volume of classroom time.

It’s also a little easier (and acceptable!) for those attendees or instructors who are feeling a little under the weather to still take part if everyone isn’t crammed into a training room - there’s no shame in attending a training course in your pyjama bottoms if it makes you feel more comfortable!

To sum it all up...

Through evolving evidence-based course design decisions, we can see that live instructor-led training programmes continue to be the gold standard in vocational education.

  • Flexible

  • Cost-Effective

  • Tailored

  • Great for team building

We would love to help you with your graduate / onboarding training schemes in 2022 - please get in touch to find out how we can craft a tailored programme for your organisation.   

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