Picking the Right Course to Meet Your Needs
As a training company, one of the questions that we get asked the most when it comes to training is, once you have identified a need, what course should somebody be put on.

A perfect example of this is Microsoft Excel. With so many people now using this application, it is probably one of the most popular courses in the world. One training company ran a survey in all of its locations that were in more than fifty countries and identified Excel Intermediate as the most requested course worldwide. So, as a HR person, if you get asked to book somebody onto an Excel class, how do you identify the level(s) which they need to do?


There are two main questions which should be asked. The first is about what level the person already has. What does the person already know? Do they need to start from Introduction or could they begin at a higher level? Therefore, what level do I need?

The second question is about what is entailed in the job which a person does. What do they need Excel for? Based on this, they should be asking themselves what level do I need?

Unless you have some sort of diagnostic tool, you are going to have to make a judgement call in order to answer the first question. This obviously then leaves you open to making poor choices. You could have a delegate start at Intro level only to find that they are bored stiff and should have begun at a more advanced level.

The opposite could happen too. You may book the person in on an Intermediate and find out that the person is not ready for that level. You then run the risk of that delegate holding up an entire class. While training companies do not want to do this, it sometimes means that the training company has to ask that delegate to leave as they cannot hold up the rest of the class.

So, rather than run that risk, if you do not have a diagnostic tool, why not see if there is one available that you can use? At Activia, we have created free skills appraisals for our clients to use. They are available on our website and take about ten to fifteen minutes to try to complete accurately. We can then get back to you with a score per level and make a recommendation.

The only thing to note is that free skills appraisals are linked to the content of our courses. So, when using a diagnostic tool like this, ensure that you are using the correct tool at the right time. It might not work if you use one company’s tool with a different company’s course.

In terms of what the person uses the application for, another judgement call has to be made. Do you need to only train the person up to an Intermediate level or go all the way up to Advanced? In the case of Excel, perhaps the company only feels that the person needs to know Formulas and Charts.


Therefore, why do training that covers more than that? The best answer that I can give is that if you have given a person a tool to utilise, why not let them use it properly? If you give them training on the entire package, you will probably find that they do a better job, as they will then also be finding ways to save time e.g. using macros.

As I mentioned earlier, Activia’s skills appraisals are free for our clients. If you have some interest in finding out how they work, give us a call. It could save your company time and money as well as a whole lot of hassle.