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Course sizes - beware of marketing statistics

As a training organisation, how could we maximise our profit? By training a lot of students at the same time, by using rooms that we only hire when there's a course on, and by offering a bewildering array of special pricing options to get as many pounds from each trainee that we can. Problem is, though ... these tactics would NOT be in the best interest of the trainees.

I followed a Google ad for an outfit I'd not come across and I read:
One of the primary determinants of the success of instructor-led training classes [besides the competency of the instructor] is the accessibility students have to ask questions, get help when they need it, and receive appropriate guidance. Our open enrolment classes average less than 12 students. That means less waiting around to receive help during lab, more time spent discussing relevant problem domains, and more direct contact with the instructor. For many students it's very important to be able to discuss their specific action plan and opportunities on the job to apply what they're learning. That's just not possible if there are 20 to 30 people in a public class.
.

I agree with their sentiment - keep class sizes down - and the reasons given. We do the same. But what are they actually saying about the numbers on a typical course of theirs? If the average number is 12, then sometimes it will be higher and sometimes it will be lower. Ironically, since fewer people attend the smaller classes, the typical student will see the larger group - only the lucky minority will attend in what I consider to be a manageable group.

Here's a bit of Perl that takes some sample numbers - this might be five courses from those folks ...


# Let's run 5 training courses ...
@numbers = (5, 9, 19, 19, 7);
$report = join (", ",@numbers);
$report =~ s/(.*),/\1 and/;
print "Courses with $report trainees\n";

# What's the total number of trainees?
$sum += $_ foreach (@numbers);

# So the average course size?
print $sum/@numbers," is the average course size\n";

# But what's average number of fellow students a trainee has?
$see += $_ * $_ foreach (@numbers);
$form = "but it looks like the average is %.0f to the trainees\n";
printf ($form,$see/$sum);


So ... that means ...
earth-wind-and-fire:~/mouth grahamellis$ perl average
Courses with 5, 9, 19, 19 and 7 trainees
11.8 is the average course size
but it looks like the average is 15 to the trainees

earth-wind-and-fire:~/mouth grahamellis$
... that you're more likely than not to be one of a group of 15 ...

Also noted ... a table of competitor's prices. Except that they're only the prices of the more expensive competitors ... Also noted ... no obvious information about their training rooms and facilities. What are they not saying? ....

(written 2005-02-27, updated 2006-06-05)

 
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
G310 - Well House Consultants - A better class of course
  [4583] Back in the saddle again - excellent open source course from Well House Consultants - (2015-11-26)
  [4558] Well House Consultants - Python courses / what's special. - (2015-10-28)
  [4280] Making use of huge data, object orientation, unit testing and frameworks - (2014-06-07)
  [3587] C++ Courses - do I get official certification at the end of my Well House course? - (2012-01-20)
  [3419] Data that we use during our training courses, and other training resources - (2011-09-04)
  [3385] Do university courses teach the right things for life at work later on? - (2011-08-10)
  [3271] The importance of feedback - (2011-04-30)
  [3001] How will we present courses over the coming years? - (2010-10-17)
  [2762] Well House - Mission and Policy summaries - (2010-05-13)
  [2633] Why do I teach niche skills rather than mainstream? - (2010-02-13)
  [2187] Are we IITT (Institute of IT Training) members? - (2009-05-17)
  [2109] Why most training fails ... - (2009-03-30)
  [2084] Books and distance learning from Well House Consultants? - (2009-03-15)
  [2074] Weekday or Weekend PHP, Python and Perl classes? - (2009-03-10)
  [2049] Why Choose Well House Consultants for your course? - (2009-02-20)
  [2010] How long should a training module be? - (2009-01-27)
  [1933] Learning to Program in C - (2008-12-10)
  [1645] Seeing how others do it - PHP training - (2008-05-17)
  [1576] Making PHP and MySQL training relevant to the course delegates - (2008-03-15)
  [1488] New trainee laptop fleet for our Open Source courses - (2007-12-30)
  [1453] What makes our courses special? - (2007-12-02)
  [1035] Longer hours and better value courses - (2007-01-15)
  [726] In praise of training course delegates. - (2006-05-20)
  [646] PHP - London course, Melksham Course, Evening course - (2006-03-14)
  [579] Short Linux and Perl courses for small groups - (2006-01-27)
  [577] Learning to program in Perl or PHP - (2006-01-26)
  [559] ''I don't know'' is sometimes a good answer - (2006-01-09)
  [554] What backup is adequate? - (2006-01-04)
  [497] I have a river to cross - (2005-11-16)
  [394] A year on - should we offer certified PHP courses - (2005-07-28)
  [371] The training team that's looking out for you - (2005-07-07)
  [350] Want to be one better - (2005-06-17)
  [292] Elegant languages - Perl, PHP, Python - (2005-04-26)
  [224] YOUR application and YOUR data - (2005-02-22)
  [219] Some unusual features - (2005-02-18)
  [215] Open Source becomes mainstream - (2005-02-14)
  [211] Look after your staff and they'll look after you. AOL. - (2005-02-12)

P208 - Perl - Lists
  [4609] Mapping an array / list without a loop - how to do it in Perl 6 - (2016-01-03)
  [3939] Lots of ways of doing the same thing in Perl - list iteration - (2012-12-03)
  [3906] Taking the lead, not the dog, for a walk. - (2012-10-28)
  [3870] Writing more maintainable Perl - naming fields from your data records - (2012-09-25)
  [3669] Stepping through a list (or an array) in reverse order - (2012-03-23)
  [3548] Dark mornings, dog update, and Python and Lua courses before Christmas - (2011-12-10)
  [3400] $ is atomic and % and @ are molecular - Perl - (2011-08-20)
  [2996] Copying - duplicating data, or just adding a name? Perl and Python compared - (2010-10-12)
  [2833] Fresh Perl Teaching Examples - part 2 of 3 - (2010-06-27)
  [2813] Iterating over a Perl list and changing all items - (2010-06-15)
  [2484] Finding text and what surrounds it - contextual grep - (2009-10-30)
  [2295] The dog is not in trouble - (2009-07-17)
  [2226] Revision / Summary of lists - Perl - (2009-06-10)
  [2067] Perl - lists do so much more than arrays - (2009-03-05)
  [1918] Perl Socket Programming Examples - (2008-12-02)
  [1917] Out of memory during array extend - Perl - (2008-12-02)
  [1828] Perl - map to process every member of a list (array) - (2008-10-09)
  [1703] Perl ... adding to a list - end, middle, start - (2008-07-09)
  [1316] Filtering and altering Perl lists with grep and map - (2007-08-23)
  [1304] Last elements in a Perl or Python list - (2007-08-16)
  [968] Perl - a list or a hash? - (2006-12-06)
  [928] C++ and Perl - why did they do it THAT way? - (2006-11-16)
  [773] Breaking bread - (2006-06-22)
  [762] Huge data files - what happened earlier? - (2006-06-15)
  [622] Queues and barrel rolls in Perl - (2006-02-24)
  [560] The fencepost problem - (2006-01-10)
  [463] Splitting the difference - (2005-10-13)
  [355] Context in Perl - (2005-06-22)
  [240] Conventional restraints removed - (2005-03-09)
  [140] Comparison Chart for Perl programmers - list functions - (2004-12-04)
  [28] Perl for breakfast - (2004-08-25)


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Feedback as lifeblood
Some other Articles
How to get the best from your supplier
Giving customers best value
Diverse activities
Feedback as lifeblood
Course sizes - beware of marketing statistics
A fortunate accident
Beard Justification
Bellringing and Programming and Objects and Perl
Growing our systems
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This is a page archived from The Horse's Mouth at http://www.wellho.net/horse/ - the diary and writings of Graham Ellis. Every attempt was made to provide current information at the time the page was written, but things do move forward in our business - new software releases, price changes, new techniques. Please check back via our main site for current courses, prices, versions, etc - any mention of a price in "The Horse's Mouth" cannot be taken as an offer to supply at that price.

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