Course design 3: Know your client

Different organisations have different needs. In my own field of health and social care the variety of organisations and the contracts they fulfil for commissioners is vast.

Some organisations are charities that focus upon social care delivery as do housing associations and a range of voluntary service providers. Other organisations such as Local Authorities and NHS teams have more formal responsibilities and owe a duty of care to whole populations rather than specific service-users on an individual basis.

Each of these organisations has its own needs, its own responsibilities and its own mode of operation to consider. There would be no point delivering a basic mental health awareness course to a specialist community mental health team, for example but similairly there is little benefit in preparing specialist training on complex needs mental health care for the local housing association whose staff will never be in a position to deliver those services anyway.

This is why it’s so important to know the client who has commissioned the training.

Too often trainers deliver generic (off the peg) courses that are the same for every organisation regardless of their actual needs. They define the content of the course by its title and not by the clients’ areas of work. This is a major mistake.

In reality ‘off the peg’ should never mean inflexible. It means that the training to be delivered will be drawn from pre-existing materials but those materials will still vary from client to client. Bespoke training means that new materials are written but that doesn’t mean that non-bespoke training courses aren’t individualised for each client too.


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