3 common mistakes that make it harder to fill spaces on training courses

3 common mistakes that make it harder to fill spaces on training courses

Filling training courses is important, and failing to do so will result in the decline of L&D.

So, here’s three common mistakes to avoid when attempting to get employees to register on your courses.

1. Focusing too much on what the course covers, rather than the benefit attendees receive

Often it’s tempting to explain to employees exactly what a course will cover. The topics, the exercises, the duration of each session etc.

However, spending time on this means you won’t focus on the benefits the employees will achieve by attending.

Employees choose to register for training courses based on the results that expect to get. If they don’t know, understand or believe the results that your training courses will deliver, they are unlikely to register and even less likely to attend.

Read more about ‘How to sell the end benefit of your training courses’.


2. Failing to provide any evidence of the quality of the course

Hopefully your employees believe that you are generally good at your job and put together high quality training courses. However, training courses take up time that the employee can be using to deliver their personal and business objectives.

As a result, you need to help employees conclude that time spent on a course will be worth it.

One way to do this is to use social proof (e.g. testimonials from people who have benefitted from attending the course, or from subject matter experts that have reviewed the course materials).

Another way is to include subject matter experts and senior leaders in the delivery of the course, for example running a training course on Excel run (in part) by Management Information experts.

One L&D professional I spoke to recently told me that by applying this one technique to some of her courses, registrations increased from 2-4 attendees per course to 15 attendees (full!).

3. Making courses ‘too available’

L&D professionals like being helpful. They want to support employees to learn at times that suit them, fitting it around their work. They want to provide useful courses to as many employees as possible.

However, doing all of this has an undesirable consequence… courses are ‘too available’.

If an employee fails to register for this month’s communication skills training course, they can probably register for the course next month, or get one of the cancellation slots, or register at the last minute because its probably not full.

As a result, there is very little incentive for employees to register for courses in advance. This makes it hard for L&D as lists of courses show small numbers of registrations, and L&D don’t know whether they’ll get a sudden influx at the last minute or whether they should cancel the course.

So instead, L&D need to create some urgency. Make it more important or desirable for an employee to register early (e.g. first 5 registrations on the sales training course get a 1-2-1 with Head of Sales), and find ways to encourage employees to get the benefits of learning sooner rather than later.

You should also help employees see courses as more scarce, e.g. by ‘selling out’ of courses (so registration is necessary), or by only scheduling repeats of courses only after the earlier ones have filled up (rather than offering a communications course every month).


So in summary:

  1. Shift focus from what the course covers, to the benefit attendees will receive
  2. Don’t forget to provide evidence of the quality of the course, and the likelihood that attendees will get the desired results
  3. Avoid making courses too ‘available’, instead create urgency and scarcity


Do you want to be the L&D leader that takes your organization from average to exceptional? Click here to learn about our L&D Accelerator.

About The Author

Alexis Kingsbury

Alexis is founder of the Parentpreneur Accelerator and Making Greatness Ltd. He is a serial entrepreneur, with experience creating start-ups in a variety of areas, particularly in SaaS and EdTech. He is also a lucky husband and proud dad, and now helps other 'parentpreneurs' like him to achieve their dreams of having successful businesses, making a difference in the world, and spending time with the people they love.

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