How To Build A Great Custom Training On A Tight Budget

During the past 30 years, a lot of corporate training has garnered a bad reputation. Some in the training field say the culprit is over-reliance on PowerPoint or Keynote. Others bemoan expediency brought on by tighter budgets, or instructional designers whose sole qualifications are on-the-job experience. The truth is that training mode, training budget, and trainer competency are really not the largest contributors to this problem. Instead, the real issue is a widely-held misunderstanding by the misinformed majority that presenting information in a pseudo-teaching environment is training. But presenting information is not the same as training. It’s just information, presented in an attractive wrapper.

Instead, good training aligns employees with organizational goals and delivers results. It means that your employees are able to do something new that they have not been able to do before. THAT’S when you know you have good training. And it doesn’t always have to cost you that much more to be effective. Here’s how to easily build a great instructor-led training for your business, on a tight budget.


Training development professionals understand that there are proven theories, models, and strategies that incorporate:

  • How people learn
  • Why they change, and
  • What training must be done to achieve learning and change.

Great training genuinely transforms an employee’s behavior. It builds your staff’s capacity to perform new skills, shepherding them to a different mindset and improving everyone’s attitude to benefit your organization as a whole. Doing this successfully requires a thorough understanding of learning psychology, some of which comes quite naturally for empathetic course developers. If your learners are in the right, capable hands of a qualified instructional designer, then they will be able to walk away from training courses fully able to perform new skills in the real world. That’s because they already have built first-hand experience within an environment that addresses conflict, personal challenges, and other obstacles they may have to overcome.

However, the process can initially be very complex. That is one reason you often see the most effective instructor-led initiatives leveraging training developers who earned a Master’s degree from a reputable instructional design academic program. They apply a systematic design process learned in their graduate program to real-world applications, helping leverage seemingly esoteric theory into very practical and concrete business results. It is costly to build this expertise through trial and error because a company losing money on failure will close its doors before long.


There are many types of training delivery methods, including hybrid approaches. Some of these include:

  • Instructor-led (face-to-face),
  • Virtual instructor-led (via Microsoft Teams, Zoom, or another online teleconferencing service),
  • eLearning (automated on an LMS to run at any time day or night),
  • Micro-learning modules delivered via smartphones or tablets,
  • Immersive games and simulations for learning, and
  • Even training in 3D environments.

Each of these tactics has pros and cons, including a wide range of investments involved. Some companies look to save costs by reducing their training department headcount, then launch an online learning academy whose team lacks the ability to effectively transform face-to-face instruction into an eLearning regime. Other companies go for flashy and highly decorative new training curricula whose production costs do not translate into proportionate learning results. The current love of using avatars in training is just one example of flash that entertains but does little if anything to motivate or facilitate actual learning. Therefore, no matter what combination of approaches you employ, be sure to you or your training developers have internalized systematic design instruction in the build process so that your company realizes quantified performance improvements.

It’s easy for you to begin the process today. Or if you want additional guidance, please keep reading about the 8 ways your team can build a great instructor-led corporate training, then download our free custom training worksheet to get started.

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About the Author
Dr. Sue Ebbers is CEO of Change by Design. Change by Design is pleased to celebrate over 15 years in business delivering evidence-based instructional design, performance improvement, and tailored learning services to government agencies, private companies and non-profit organizations around the world.