Art of Naming Training Classes

So, we're trying to name a training class right now, and we're stumbling all over ourselves with a variety of ideas.  Got me thinking... what goes into naming a training class?  Here's what I've come up with so far....

Audience -- The name should be understandable by the people who will take the class.

Tone -- The name should fit the tone of your corporate culture and the content of the class.

Existing Classes -- The name should either be congruent with existing names... or if this is a complete diversion in format, method, content, etc., then possibly should be significantly different than existing class names to convey that difference.

Cardinality -- Some classes need to be identified by an order, such as Level 1 and Level 2.

I'm going to stop, and hopefully you'll take it from here.  What do you think should be considered?

BTW... we're trying to name a new classroom class focused on becoming familiar with the features added to our software in the last few releases.  We decided on Workshop because it does have a distinctly different format than our existing classes, and workshop felt right for the format.  But we're struggling here... any suggestions?

New Features Workshop (some features are two years old, though)

Release Workshop

Release Updates Workshop

Suggestions welcome! 

Thanks,
Heather

15 Replies
Bruce Graham

Nice topic! 

I always like the concept of a more informal "sell" in the name:

"Working at Height - (How to avoid falling out of a crane...)"

Product X - Q3 Overview, (and how to hit your targets selling it in Q4...)

and so on.

Perhaps your course should include something like"...and why it will make your life easier..." or something - people often struggle to see the (personal) benefits from software training.

Hope that helps.

Bruce

Audrey Kumi

Naming training classes is not always easy or fun. What is the name of the software? Because I think you should include the name of the software in the title.

Just Release Workshop or Release Updates Workshop is seems vague. You want your audience to be able to self identify with the class when they read the title so if the class is targetted at HR and you have just Release Update workshop, it will leave people wondering.

So for example if your software is SAP - your training class can be SAP Release Update Workshop.

Heather Steckley

Thanks for the thoughts!

Our training is for our external private customers (contractual users of our software).  And as we have one product, we didn't feel the need to include the very long software name -- Corepoint Integration Engine.    Point taken, though, and our class description will be very specific so they will know exactly what's being covered.

Now we're leaning heavily toward naming it the Get Current! Workshop.

My favorite in the brainstorming meeting was Epiphany Session.  :)

Matthew Bray Nimeth

It seems to me like many of the names we choose for classes are so generic that they don't "sell" the course for you. I think taking a name like New Features Workshop and calling it the "Reporting features implementation workshop" (if the features were related to reporting).  Release Workshop to me sounds like something related to a prison sentence. I would call it something like "The Big Buzz: What's new in ACME software" The course Release Updates Workshop could be called The Little Buzz" assuming it is the one that is smaller.

I think making the names interesting by making them allude to "interesting" topics is helpful. The word "Buzz" makes it sound like people are talking about it and you don't want to miss it, so be sure to come check it out and it is a portable name (applicable to any new releases).

Just my .02$

M@

Bruce Graham

Heather,

If they are external customers/clients - why not appeal to the reason they bought from you.

"Getting the most out of CIE"

"CIE - Are you using everything you bought...?"

This is still back to basic selling - make them excited and want to come, minus gimmicks.

Matthew's suggestion of "Buzz - everyone is talking about it, do not miss out!" is I'm afraid completely overused now, certainly in UK in my opinion. People really are not that dumb to think everyone is talking about it - let's give our customers some credit!

Bruce

Daniel Brigham

Hi, Heather:

Good for you for highlighting the fact that many of our course names are beyond dull.

Apologize if you already know this, but Michael Allen discusses this topic (pp. 91-95) in Designing Successful E-learning. He suggests that you start the brainstorming with the behavior change that you want. And I think your "get current" is getting close to that. As Sir Bruce mentions above, though, why should they get current? What's in it for them? A good course title (and the learning campaign that surrounds it) should motivate people.

Please let us know what you settle on and why. We're curious. --Daniel

Heather Steckley

Thanks everyone!  Our marketing & branding team has a very strict no acronym policy... just seeing you guys write CIE (and now I just did it) is making alarm bells go off somewhere in the building. 

For today at least, we're settling on calling it the Get Current! Workshop.  To Daniel & Bruce's point, I think maybe a tagline after it is in order?  We wanted to keep the title nice and short, and add more detail in the description.  However, a tagline is kind of a compromise -- like a subheading under the title.  Maybe something like...

Get Current! Workshop

A hands-on experience of how you can leverage the newest features in Corepoint Integration Engine

Daniel, thanks for the tip about that chapter in Allen's book.

Bruce Graham

Heather,

Whilst I get the who "acronym" thing, I am afraid that (for me...)

"A hands-on experience of how you can leverage the newest features in Corepoint Integration Engine" comes straight out of Dilbert.

It's not "an experience" - it's training.

"Leverage" = "...use what you paid for..."

They have bought it - so you need to address the reasons WHY they bought it - either to increase their profits, reduce their losses, or reduce personal/business risk.

  • They are the only 3 reasons companies buy things.
  • They are the only 3 reasons we train.

Just my 2p worth.

Bruce

Heather Steckley

Bruce,

The people who take our classes are not the people who bought the software... several layers above their pay grade actually made the business decision to buy.  Most of our students aren't focused on the business reasons -- just practical solutions to their daily problems.  We're training them how to use our product... but they all use it in a variety of different ways, and they all use different features.

It all comes down to knowing your audience and the culture, and meeting people where they are.  If we tried to market this class to these folks by mentioning any of the three reasons you list, they wouldn't be interested.  I think it oversimplifies it to say there are only three reasons we train.

I'm interested why you don't think a class can be a learning experience.  In this class, we have people come from all levels of experience and background, and we're offering them a chance to come get what they need out of the workshop.  We will have a buffet of 30 topics, and a variety of lab exercises for each topic... and everyone picks and chooses what is most relevant to their jobs / current skill level.  We provide a learning environment with a variety of resources available to them, and they focus on the features that mean the most to them.

I hope more folks chime in on how they go about naming classes.  So many class titles sound like a yawn fest.

Matthew Bray Nimeth

Heather, As I read your last response it struck me that your class/workshop was a "learning buffet" or an all you can eat workshop.

I think hearing more about the feel of it that you are going for is helpful. Our training is around software that is used by many different learner groups and we usually include the role of the learner in the name. FOr example we call one of our classes simply "Technical Implementer" and another class "System Configuration for Administrators." Boring names I know but they get the concept across.

We

Bruce Graham

@Heather...

Several answers/comments/thoughts....

An "experience", or "learning experience" as a name in my view cheapens what it is - it is training. No matter how you are offering it, it's still training. I doubt they will go home and say "I went to a really good experience today", they will call it a "course" or "training event".

Now...they may not be interested in the 3 reasons, I completely accept that, but the people/person who signed the cheque undoubtedly is/was. Of course they are not interested if they have no interest in anything other than their "job". It is possible (probable?) that no-one has ever explained why they have the new software. That's a failure of the implementation/project management process - not the suggested theory. Businesses buy "stuff" for 3 reasons, that's why we sell "stuff" like that. We train to support the businesses reasons for buying.

I am not asking them to be focused on these things, but I would feel it remiss if the reasons they were using it in the first place were not mentioned at some point. They can be mentioned in a number of ways and levels of complexity, but they should be mentioned as they drive adoption. Failure to link "people levels", and to silo people is a terrible indictment of our (training) industry (IMHO). It is mostly (again IMHO) because many "training" people do not have a business background - and are scared to address commercial reality.

I am also interested in what other training you think we do that falls outside these 3 areas?

Respectfully

Bruce

Matt Miele

This is an awesome topic!!  My two cents.. For technical training, I try to incorporate the course type in the title (see table below).  For product training I also try to put the product name and version number in the title.

Course Type Code

Course Type

OV

Overview, Primer, Introduction (101 Level)

FD

Foundations (101 Level)

INT

Intermediate (201 Level)

ADV

Advanced (301 Level)

OPS

Operation

AOPS

Advanced Operation

MTN

Maintenance

TS                     

Troubleshooting                                    

MTNTS

Maintenance and Troubleshooting

IC

Installation and Configuration

DLT

Delta (Differences) Course 

SRV

Service (Professional Services – Internal)

I actually have  a paradigm document that helps me come up with curriculum IDs, course IDs, and naming of collateral documents,

Matt Miele

Heather Steckley said:

Thanks for the thoughts!

Our training is for our external private customers (contractual users of our software).  And as we have one product, we didn't feel the need to include the very long software name -- Corepoint Integration Engine.    Point taken, though, and our class description will be very specific so they will know exactly what's being covered.

Now we're leaning heavily toward naming it the Get Current! Workshop.

My favorite in the brainstorming meeting was Epiphany Session. 

I think this would be a good sub title, but it not very descriptive for an overall title.  If you have many courses, you will run into problems identifying them...

Daniel Brigham

Hi, Heather:

Another idea that you actually mentioned--i.e., the somehow the course, training, experience (whatever) will solve some of there problems. I know I want my problems solved, and am interested (and many times will pay) in people who say they can do such a thing.

Thanks again, for posting on this topic. The names of my courses, heretofore, pretty much blow, and you're remind me that that's a wasted opportunity.