Instructor Led Is Training Too Risky

Since my company is in the process of ramping up the development group on a host of new technologies and we happen to be blessed with management that agrees to invest in training we’ve setup a number of in-house classes over the past 18 months. The general rule unfortunately is that a number of them have been atrocious:

  • Instructor is actually a sales guy and knows nothing about the product he’s training on. He actually calls in a sales engineer and for and hour the class hears the powerpoint slides being explained over a Polycom.
  • Instructor shows up the first day and explains that he’s never taught the class before and he just got swapped in last week for the real instructor.
  • Instructor explains high level concepts for two days and has zero hands on content because he’s never done training in his whole career.
  • None of the machines for a class are setup ahead of time so the entire class has to install the nasty IBM Webshpere/Portal/RAD class before even beginning. This takes multiple hours. Halfway through the circuit breaker pops because all the desktops were plugged into one socket and the process has to start all over.
  • Out of the prepared labs/demos the instructor can get perhaps 30% to actually work.
  • In the afternoon of the first day the instructor points out this is as far as he got reading the slides on the plane so he proceeds to read them out loud for the class for the rest of the afternoon.

The sad part with these stories is we’re often paying about $300-$500 per developer per day to be in the class. So I’m seriously considering giving up on all instructor led training unless it’s low risk. That means I know I’m getting a good instructor who knows what the hell they’re doing, or I’m sending one or two people to the training so if the training sucks we haven’t made much of an investment.