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What do you mean by custom training?

Custom training to us means providing flexible, customized training that closely meets the customer's real needs. It could be offering courses at hours and dates that are the most convenient for the client, in order to minimize the impact of being 'away' at a formal class. It might also mean selecting from existing materials to put together a custom curriculum, in a 'mix and match' manner (see also "Aggregate Training" below)

Custom training definitely means interviewing the client to determine their specific objectives and training needs. In talking with clients, we determine the topic(s) that they really wish to have their students learn. For example, rather than just offering a standard Visual Basic Fundamentals course, we might offer a Visual Basic Fundamentals course that will include more material on data access methods available in Visual Basic.

Why custom training?

Custom course development ensures that the client gets the most 'bang for the buck'. Particularly with more than a couple of students, the importance of ensuring the students are adequately trained to carry out their assignments is crucial. Although standard training courses are often adequate, custom training provides that extra measure of security to ensure that the students really are trained and ready.

'Aggregate' Training

The term 'aggregate' training has been coined to mean developing and using training materials that are based on an aggregation of existing materials. By using course materials that have already been developed by others, we are able to provide custom training at a fraction of what it would cost to develop custom materials from scratch.

In order to use existing materials, we work with the client to ensure that we are properly licensed to use existing materials. This usually involves purchasing existing materials that are readily available and can be shopped for the best price, and then making those available as part of the training. For example, we may purchase MSDN books from Microsoft, use those books as a foundation, and then add custom developed PowerPoint slides and other material to supplement that material.

What does custom training cost?

The cost of custom training includes the normal cost of delivering a class and the additional time necessary to analyze the client's training requirements and prepare any desired custom courseware. The additional time is determined by the client, and can vary widely. It generally takes at least a couple of hours for determining training requirements, depending on the degree to which different courseware alternatives need to be presented or documented. For a recent client who wanted two and one-half days of custom Front Page 2000 training, we spent about 4 hours to research courseware alternatives, develop a custom detailed curriculum of topics, and prepare a Word document in the form of a matrix comparing the different courseware alternatives and how they individually met the curriculum.

Arete Systems normally bills out the additional costs of developing custom training on a time and materials basis, subject to fixed limits agreed upon in advance with the client.

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