Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Selection of a Training Course

Often selecting training in glass is a lottery. It most commonly is done through propinquity and incidental knowledge. Most often a course is chosen because information came to hand of a class that is being held nearby. These are not always the best criteria. It may be better to travel for a course that fits your needs better.

There are some things that you can check to help determine whether the course being offered is the one for you.

The first of course, is whether the instruction will meet your interests. Yes, the title has caught your attention, but you need to find out if the syllabus covers your area of interest adequately. 
· Inquire for a syllabus or teaching outline. If there is not one, you may have a question on whether the course is well planned, as well as whether it deals with your interests.
· Ensure the course level is appropriate to your needs. Are there any prerequisites in terms of experience or ability?

Another important element in selection is the person who is leading the course. The leader may of course, may have brought in teacher for this subject, so you need to know things about both. 
What is the background to the course leader? Some of the things you might want to find out are:
· Is the course leader part of a business providing materials,
· Is it in a centre of excellence
· Is it an accredited education provider
· Is the leader a studio owner or artist
· What is the history or experience in providing training courses
Who is the teacher? Some to the things you should ask about in addition to the person’s identity are:
· What is known about her/him? Is there a CV available?
· Where examples of work can be seen
· What experience does the person have in making in general and in making using the technique(s) being offered?
· What length of teaching experience does the person have?

Having satisfied yourself about the instructor(s) you need to begin doing some comparisons with other course offerings. Price is always important, but you need to know what value you are getting, so you need to know what is included in the price. Some of the things that affect price and value are:
· Tools – are they all included, or do you have to provide your own?
· Materials – are the materials included in the price or do you buy as you use?
· Equipment – is the use of all the machinery and facilities included? What is excluded?
· Food – are meals included and which ones? What refreshments are available?
· Length of instruction time – how many days are involved? What are the hours of instruction? Are there any extensions of instruction or working time?
· Numbers – what is the expected teacher to student ratio? This will affect the amount of time you receive from the teacher.
· Accommodation – if relevant, is it included? Is there any assistance in obtaining accommodation?

You should also find out about booking, deposits, cancellation conditions, and when payment is due.

Another element relevant to selection is the premises in which the course is to be held.
· Are they purpose built for the relevant activities?
· Are the premises general educational accommodation? Is it local authority classroom provision? Etc.
· Is the instructor’s studio being used? What space is available?

An obvious important element in selection is convenience.
· Location – is it near or easy to get to?
· Time - are the days convenient? Is the time of the day appropriate?
· Duration – how long are the sessions?

A really important element in selection is the evaluations by past students. These are difficult to get, and if supplied by the instructor, are open to doubt. The best source of evaluation is direct contact with past students. It is important to ask friends and other people in the field about the course being offered.

Documentation about the course is helpful in getting a feel about what is being offered. This might include information about the instructor(s), description of course, dates, times, cost, information on level of instruction, location, travel, facilities, and accommodation.

It is unlikely that you will get the best fit in every category. You will need to make compromises on various elements, so it is important that you think about what you want from the course. If there are one or two elements that you feel are important but not covered, you should contact the provider and ask about whether any accommodation to these requirements are possible.