Where have all the full day courses gone?

When I first started my career in learning and development full day, if not multiple day courses we’re commonplace.

Then those full day courses became half days. Half days got squeezed into a couple of hours. A couple of hours became a webinar. And hey presto! Now we’re at micro-learning.

Ok, maybe the process wasn’t exactly that linear, but you get the gist!

Over the last 10 years there appears to have shift away from the full day course being typical culture towards technologically enhanced blended programmes and pathways.

But why? Are full day courses a thing of the past? I’m still using full day courses with no tech, help! I hear you cry. Don’t worry I’ll share everything you need to know in this post.

Where have all the full day courses gone?

Simply, the world is moving on, and away from full day courses to upskill their employees. Organisations need to do more with less, and in a world where productivity and efficiency is key, full day courses no longer fit the bill.

Whilst the world has changed, so has the opportunity. Here are some statistics that share how learning technology has transformed in the last 20 years.

All these learning technology enhancements in the last decade or so have changed the face of learning within organisations.

Organisations are now able to use assessments tools to personalise learning. Use learning paths to create clear pathways for individuals based on their role or skill requirements, and blended learning to ensure that part of the learning is standardised for every new starter.

All of this ultimately means more can now be done online and less time is needed in the classroom.

Are full day courses a thing of the past?

Full day training courses may still have their place, if the content is appropriate and there is plenty to cover. But I’d urge you to consider how else you could deliver the content for maximum effect and transfer of learning.

It’s a well known fact that on average people forget about 70% of what they’ve learned within 24 hours of completing training.  

This is because of the pesky forgetting curve that we all fall victim to at some point in time.

So, if we only on average retain 30% of what we’ve learned, then the amount of learning that will be applied and implemented on the job will be even lower.

Between the tech stats and the forgetting curve there’s a pretty good case for why those full day courses have gone.

How can I make the switch away from full day courses?

Firstly, it’s worth mentioning that for some courses, a full day interactive may be appropriate. Providing its supported with wrap around development. And if you’re not using tech as wrap around support, then you’re missing a trick to counteract the forgetting curve.

5 steps to make the switch:

  • Review the content, is your face to face learning covering knowledge or skills-development? If there are elements covering knowledge, great! You’ve just identified your first way to bring tech into the equation. Get those knowledge elements in either video form, or e-learning so it’s standardised. We can learn and retain information without spending valuable classroom time to do it.
  • Be critical with your content – are you really covering the essentials they need to do the job, or is it clouded with extra filler activities?
  • Find an appropriate platform – Do you have a learning management system that can facilitate e-learning, blended learning or learning paths? If not, you’ll need to consider other ways to share learning.
  • Does everyone need the full course or just certain elements? – You could use an interactive self-assessment to identify the competence level of learners. Then you can tier the learning approach based on their individual needs (nice bit of personalisation there!)
  • Have a plan for post-learning – How will you keep the learning alive? A great choice is to drip-feed follow on content to counteract the forgetting curve. Or even better, get the managers engaged and on-board to support the learning transfer in the workplace.


Full day courses may be going but they’re certainly not forgotten. If you still have full day courses happening in your organisation, I challenge you to review the content with a newly informed critical eye. Use it to consider if what your delivering is really still needed in this format? I’ll bet there are some elements that you can use tech to transform.

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