Dinesh Divekar
Business Mentor, Consultant And Trainer
Consultant Trainer
Softskills Trainer
Experiential Educator

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Hi to all who've ever said "Lets buy some training",

I'm a Pune-based Microsoft Excel trainer. I want to share something different I've been doing recently.

So far, the typical training I provide is of the 'one-size-fits-all' variety. In this, a bunch of 25-odd participants from different departments land up. Each has different training needs. Each is at a different level of knowledge. But I have only one script / syllabus. As a result, participants dis-engage and get bored from time to time, resulting in lower retention, lower training effectiveness.

What is worse, it is unfair to participants. We're wasting their time by suggesting that people with varied interests attend one workshop.

Worried by this, I tried something different recently...

A Mumbai based client of mine has several employees who do exactly the same kind of work ... their MS-Excel training needs are similar. I went to their office and spent half a day observing employees using MS-Excel and asking them where they get stuck. I interacted with 4 employees in this way. Then I went home, and designed a syllabus for them FROM SCRATCH - a no frills, only essentials syllabus. And now, I'm ready to deliver this customized training later this month.

My own satisfaction about this training has increased. I feel I'm really helping my student learn exactly what he wants. And I am also giving my client company proper value for their money (no extra frills, only essentials).

Of course, the effort required is more, both for me (designing from scratch) and for the client (arranging my half-day interaction with employees). But like they say, no pain, no gain!

I'd like to hear what you think of this? I think I can already hear "no time for customisation", "its expensive", "can get quorum only for broadbased training".

But I hope there are a few voices which are different :-)

Shirish Kher

From India, Pune
Hi Shirish<
I went through your post and i must say i guess thats the perfect way rather more advisable on how training should be taken care of.
As a mater of fact i myself am a trainer for customer service in a an MNC and no doubt my training process sticks to the product and module that we have but as per my opinion i take up training based on what kind of person of employee do i have to train. I am planning to take up soft skill training however not on a massive scale as you do but atleast a minimal area. Can you help me as to how do you actually conduct the training need analysis other than talking to the employees please note m working with an outsourced process where the employees are all coming from different backgrounds so prolly their skills and talents would differ, what areas can be taken up for training them plz gve your suggestions.

From India, Vadodara
Hi Shirish,

Greetings to you from GLOBALedge.

With customization, you are on the right track, beyond any doubt. It will take time and energy but at the end of the day, will be more effective.

I have written a book in TAMIL on MS-EXCEL (with a sample CD) and conducting EXCEL TRAINING to a variety audience. My syllabus is divided into intermediate level and advanced level. For beginners, I just give my book and ask them to do the homework (it will hardly take 3 to 5 days, if they are conversant with using a system and have some basic knowledge).

For advanced level training, once again I choose to create "industry specific" content. If the client is a bank, then I will visit them and find out what they are normally doing with Excel and how it can be improved upon. When I show them something which they are doing on their day-to-day work, they sit straight with a feeling that it is their cup of tea.

Nice to see a similar trainer from some other part of the country. All the best Shirish.



From India, Madras
Dear Friends,

I am also a die hard fan of MS Excel and am also a member of many excel help forums but mostly I only take help from these forums where super duper excel experts give their advice free of cost. Lots of such forums are there on internet, so as far as my knowledge on excel goes its all self learnt and from the internet forums.

And I am also in the education field so I know what exactly is training, and sometimes we should not really go into training need analysis, as we are into training since past 20 years, I will tell you what should be the ideal training process:

Now you can take excel containing A to Z steps, and a person might only know some steps of excel, and for his work AT PRESENT he might need to learn only some more steps. And HOW CAN YOU decide that your training is success when you have sampled only 4-5 people and based on their feedback you designed the training program, I dont feel this might have been effective.

And regarding your sentence given above I dont agree with you.

What is worse, it is unfair to participants. We're wasting their time by suggesting that people with varied interests attend one workshop.

why should you suggest that people with varied interests should attend,, people who want to develop their skills and make their work more easy should attend the program..

And dear as per your post, you analysed that the people need to drive a car, and you only took into what they WANT,, and you need not analyse what THEY SHOULD LEARN., so you only taught them how to drive a car, because even if you know tomorrow they might need to learn some knowledge about basic maintenance of vehicle you did not teach them that, because you want them to come again to you, to learn the thing which you could have finished in the first learning itself.

You should equip train your participants so that not only for today they are equipped to do their work but also geared up for tomorrow..

From India, Pune
Dear Shirish,

Following are your observations on your post on MS Excel Training:

a) First and foremost it is good that you have shared your experience on implementation of skill. Though this forum boasts for largest number of subscribers, hardly any member share their experiences/problems in execution. Most of the posts are from junior members who want some spoon feeding, others prefer to become their secretary by searching Google and providing them the links!

b) For the customisation of the training programme, one needs to do the extensive pre-training activities. That's exactly you have done. Training is quite an easy task. Real strength of trainer lies in conducting pre-training activities and understanding exactly on what factors/components to give emphasis on. For this, a training professional needs to have lot of maturity.

c) Training is often mistaken as ability to give presentations or do some games. No, these are only the tools and final objective of any training is to raise the competency. However, here again not many HR or Training managers are mature enough to devise measures of competency and they go for the feedback provided by the participants at the end of the training. This is classic example of how to wood is missed for the trees.

I wish you to continue with you pre-training activities and you will go a long way.


Dinesh V Divekar
Soft Skill, Behavioural and

From India, Bangalore
Dear Shirish and Dinesh
Please excuse th telegraphic style -- I am on the run.
As far as views on WHAT TRAINING SHOULD BE --- are concerned,
I have found two soulmates
2 However,
as a behavioral + soft skills trainer myself,
The Indian market fr training needs to grow up.
You have just put in
your early contributions to that upbringing.
God Bless You

From India, New Delhi
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