Finding the Optimal Length for Your Training Course


The last thing you want when you announce a new training course is for your employees to roll their eyes and start dreading the process. Unfortunately, the idea of training gets a bad reputation. Some of the more common descriptors you might hear by association are “boring,” “tedious” and “long.” 

So, how can you break the mold and encourage your employees to see training as an opportunity to get better at their jobs? For starters, let’s work on that last complaint: length. Finding the optimal length for your training can make a big difference in how your employees view their experience. Here’s why. 

The Length of Your Training Course Matters 

  • It keeps employees engaged. If your training course goes too long, you risk losing the interest of your employees. By finding the right length to get all the pertinent information across without going overboard, you can hold the attention of your trainees when it matters most. 
  • It shows your employees respect. No one wants to feel like his time is being wasted. By making your training a manageable length, your employees will feel more valued. They’ll be more likely to see the importance of the training if it gets right to the point and doesn’t drag on for too long. 
  • It gets people back to work. When your employees spend unnecessary time on a training course, it takes away from their ability to do their job. If you can make your training course no longer than necessary, then you can get everyone back to work sooner.
  • It invigorates your staff. If your training course is done right, it motivates and excites your team. By not allowing your course to be too long, your employees are more likely to find purpose and enjoyment, which can lead to an invigorated perspective on their job responsibilities. 
  • Less is more. While it might seem there is lots of information to cover, cutting it down (or breaking it into several smaller sessions) can help ensure your employees are actually learning. Since training takes time and money, you want to ensure your employees are getting as much out of it as possible, so go for quality over quantity. 

How Do You Find the Optimal Length? 

This is the tricky part. It would be easy if we could simply give you an amount of time, but the optimal length for training in your company will depend on your employees and the time you have to give. However, here are a few tips on figuring out what works best: 

  • Err on the side of caution. Rather than starting out with a super long training course and figuring out at what point your employees lose interest, start shorter and build with their attention span. 
  • Look for the telltale signs of disengagement. Are your employees staring off into space? Is it clear from their work performance that they didn’t digest some important new skill? 
  • Ask for feedback. Let your employees tell you how long feels too long and go from there. Not only will they feel appreciated and heard, but you’ll get an accurate idea of what you can expect. 

Training doesn’t have to be an activity employees dread. Ideally, they’ll look forward to learning more and improving their skills. By optimizing the length of your training, you can help make that happen. 

Need help determining the right length for your training? Click here to see how Expand can help.

Will Holland