As educational professionals, your team will have ample experience designing curricula and courses on a variety of subjects. However, corporate training has a few idiosyncrasies that are not present in academia. You’ll need to design a course that applies to both a wide audience and can still be customized for each specific company. Additionally, you must tailor your course to cater to the needs of adult learners. It’s a tall order, but your team can handle it!

Course design really entails two phases. Phase 1 is creating the basic course. The basic course is a template of sorts: it contains all the information on the subject but lacks any details or information that vary from company to company. Phase 2 is modifying the course according to the specifications and needs of your client. You can add industry terms and company policies during this phase.

Many aspects must combine to create a great contract training course. As with academic courses, you must look beyond the didactic style of old. Here are five key elements of a successful contract training course.

1. Subject

What is the subject matter you’ll be teaching: compliance, safety, leadership, etc. For each topic, there is information you can gather independently and information you will need directly from the company. Note: some companies might prefer that you avoid certain sources (e.g., a handbook published by a direct competitor).

2. Format

Will this course be in a classroom or online? Will it be instructor-led or self-directed? Does the course entail interactive methods? Different subjects work best with different methods. Likewise, adult learners are different from traditional students: they are more mature, they prioritize efficiency, and they do best when they can see tangible results.

3. Adaptability

This comes into play during the second phase. Companies, like employees, have preferences too. Company R uses ILT, whereas Company Q prefers self-directed learning, and Company S has seen great results with gamification. Can the training be adapted to different learning methods? This is also why having a base course is so useful: you can modify for any training method.

4. Examples

Adult learners like tangibility. They want to see results. They want to know that there is a good reason for them to put time and energy into this training. Tie in your lessons to their daily life: how will this affect them? Real world examples that demonstrate your points are ideal. You could also incorporate case studies, labs, and more.

5. Assessments

Your contract training students don’t need a report card, but they (and their employer) need to some way to measure their knowledge or progress. How does each learner need to be assessed? What metrics does the company want to use? While one client might prefer a certificate of completion, another might want employees to pass an exam.

As we mentioned earlier, there are a myriad of elements that go in to an effective contract training course. The biggest takeaway is to always communicate with your clients. You must collaborate with each company to create the ideal training module. You might even learn from these collaborations and adjust your base module accordingly. Everyone wins when everyone learns!

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Author Rick J. Stern

Entrepreneur Rick Stern built Xenegrade Corp with a focus on service to educational organizations. With an MBA from Simon School of Business at the University of Rochester and over 20 years continuing education management, his experience provides valuable insight into the needs, demands, and trends of the continuing education market.

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