Sometimes organizations need to rely on outside training consultants to help them quickly start and scale their learning programs. But with so many experts, how do you select the right one for your company? In this blog, we will provide some ideas on what to look for in a training consultant.
What is a training consultant?
A training consultant is typically responsible for developing and implementing training programs tailored to address skill gaps, align with business objectives, and meet any other needs of an organization. Services that training consultants may provide include:
- Evaluating the training needs of a company
- Assessing existing training resources
- Providing recommendations for training technologies
- Teaching training best practices
- Designing and delivering training programs, platforms, policies, and resources
- Building individual courses including elearning, instructor-led training and microlearning
- Assessing the outcomes of training initiatives and making necessary enhancements to improve effectiveness.
Benefits of hiring a training consultant
Training consultants can either be individual contributors or part of a training team. Typically, they bring specific expertise that is not available in the organization or are “extra hands-on deck”. Reasons companies hire training consultants include:
Experience and knowledge: Training consultants often leverage their experience, knowledge, and skills to help companies develop effective learning resources. They can also offer up-to-date knowledge or experience in the latest trends in training.
Time savings: Training consultants can help to meet “surge requirements” or train existing staff to perform their jobs more effectively so they can reduce the time it takes to build training programs.
Assess effectiveness: With experience in successful programs, training consultants can assess the performance and outcomes of training initiatives and suggest enhancements.
Outside perspective: Given their experience with a variety of clients and industries, training consultants can bring fresh insights to issues and solutions that might have been overlooked.
Tailored advice: Training consultants can develop company-specific solutions to meet objectives and address gaps.
What to look for in a training consultant?
When hiring a training consultant, it’s essential to look for individuals with a specific set of skills and qualities that align with your organization’s training needs. Here are 10 key skills to look for when evaluating training consultants:
- Training program implementation skills: Look for someone who has implemented or grown successful training programs in the past. If your implementation includes new technologies, you should look for consultants that have implemented that specific application or something similar.
- Instructional design skills: Strong instructional design skills are crucial for creating engaging and interactive training materials, design learning objectives, and structure content in a logical and organized manner.
- Familiarity with learning frameworks: Training consultants should be familiar with frameworks such as ADDIE, Kirkpatrick, Bloom’s Taxonomy or a model similar to the “Tell me. Show me. Let me Try. Test me.” framework.
- Training delivery skills: A consultant should possess excellent presentation and facilitation skills and are able to effectively engage participants and adapt their delivery style to different audiences and learning preferences.
- Communication and listening skills: Look for a consultant who understands your organization’s needs, collaborates with stakeholders, and conveys information clearly. They should also be skilled listeners. You can typically determine if they have this skill during the interview process, so be sure to look for it specifically.
- Analytical and problem-solving skills: Training consultants should be able to analyze training needs, identify gaps or areas for improvement and develop training strategies that address specific challenges and solve problems related to learning and development.
- Adaptability and flexibility: Whether working alone or as part of a team, the training consultant should be skilled at adapting to various organizational cultures, working with diverse teams, and adjusting their training approach based on the evolving needs of their audience. Look for consultants who exhibit professionalism, integrity, and a collaborative approach.
- Project management skills: A training consultant should have strong project management abilities to ensure that training initiatives are executed efficiently and within established timelines.
- Technology skills: Look for consultants who are comfortable with learning management systems (LMS), e-learning platforms, multimedia tools, course authoring tools and other relevant technologies to enhance the training experience.
- Evaluative and assessment skills: A competent training consultant should employ various evaluation methods, such as surveys, assessments, and post-training follow-ups, to gather feedback and continuously improve training courses. They should also leverage metrics and KPIs to measure the effectiveness of training programs.
Do training consultants need subject-matter expertise?
Often training consultants are chosen for their in-depth knowledge and expertise in the specific subject matter or industry including concepts, best practices, and latest trends relevant to the training topic.
But this should not always be a must.
Being a subject matter expert doesn’t mean that someone will be skilled at training program development. Most seasoned training consultants can create an effective, successful learning program for any topic if they have access to the information needed for the training. The information can be in a variety of forms such as access to SMEs, written content such as product documentation, or recorded meetings.
Technology, such as generative AI (GenAi), is also making it easier for content creators and instructional designers to take content from subject-matter experts and transform them into purpose-built content. Training consultants will also often work collaboratively with inside training staff or experts for in-depth or industry-specific knowledge.
With this in mind, ensure that the training consultants check the boxes in the above section rather than just subject-matter expertise.
Use of technology for training consultants
From the use of LMS’ to eLearning authoring tools, today’s training consultants should be well versed on the use of technology for training programs. With advancement of AI, also look for consultants who are comfortable with AI-enabled course authoring software, like LEAi, so they can reduce the time and effort to create learning content. This provides you with the benefits of reduced consultation costs and reduced time to market for your training program.
LEAi, accelerates the creation of content for eLearning courses, instructor-led training (ILT), presentations, videos, and other learning materials. LEAi, unlike other course authoring solutions, enables simultaneous uploading of existing sources with various file types to speed up the learning content creation process. Use Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, HTML pages, and video recordings. This platform automatically generates learning content, suggests learning objectives, and provides assessment questions within seconds.
LEAi facilitates seamless collaboration by allowing unlimited reviewers to provide feedback directly within the tool. This feature lets reviewers comment on specific course parts, streamlining the feedback process.
When screening training consultants, ask about their experience with GenAI tools for creating training content and other common technology tools used by training and learning departments.
16 Questions to ask training consultants
When considering hiring a training consultant, asking the right questions can help you assess their qualifications, experience, and suitability for your organization’s training needs. Depending on your needs, here are some questions you may want to ask a training consultant:
- Provide examples of projects you have worked on in a similar industry or with similar training objectives.
- How do you assess the training needs of a company? What methods or tools do you use?
- What instructional design models or approaches do you follow when developing training?
- How do you ensure that the training content is engaging, interactive, and aligned with learning objectives?
- Can you describe your experience in delivering training to diverse audiences with different learning styles and needs?
- How do you stay updated with trends, technologies, and best practices in training?
- What evaluation methods do you use to measure the effectiveness of your training programs? How do you assess the impact on participants’ knowledge and performance?
- Can you share some success stories from clients who have benefited from your initiatives?
- How do you customize training programs to fit the needs and culture of an organization?
- How do you collaborate with internal stakeholders and subject matter experts during the training development process?
- What resources and technologies do you utilize to enhance the training experience?
- Tell us about your experience using AI for creating content or enhancing the effectiveness of training programs.
- How do you ensure that training initiatives align with business goals and contribute to organizational success?
- What is your project management approach to ensure timely and efficient delivery?
- Provide an overview of your fee structure and any additional costs for your services.
- How do you handle post-training support and follow-up to ensure sustained learning and application of skills?
Let LearnExperts help you
Whether you need help with building training content or extra hands to develop training content, give us a shout. The team at LearnExperts has decades of experience in building learning programs and can help you meet your corporate training goals.