Forecasting Tools & Methods

I'm working on a project at the moment, which is looking at how we improve our ability to forecast for training projects (mainly design time). This means being smarter in how we use the data we have but also how we actually arrive at the forecasting figures in the first place.

It is difficult to do at the start of a needs analysis and sometimes it's a finger in the air job but we try to work on the rule of 1 hour delivery equates to 8 hours design time.

Does anyone use another method or one based on a more scientific approach to the one outlined above they could share?

I'm also really interested in what tools are out there that anyone may have used that collates and presents the data easily, we currently use excel spreadsheets but there must be other methods, systems & tools that could help us?

Any thoughts or ideas would be appreciated


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  • Thanks for your reply Erica

    Due to our model of working the forecasting is looking at pure design time required. Since my post we have decided to break the design down in to the different blends (self managed is included although wouldn't class as e-learning in the strictest sense) and classified each requirement as either high , medium or low in complexity depending on content. This then provides a guide to forecast hours following TNA and a slightly more specific way taking in to account different blends and design skills required. We'll see how it goes and review timings as we go along. The 1:8 ration is based on face to face learning we do have different forecasting for each different blend.

  • Mike,

    I use exactly the same model - 1 hour deliver: 8 hours design time. We have found Excel seems to suit the level of analysis we need - not wanting to over-engineer.

    The biggest challenge we face is trying to define the learning intervention at the initiation stage of a project. For example, sometimes we work on very small projects that require only basic customer documentation. However other projects require a more blended approach including classroom, one-to-one coaching, rapid elearning, documentation etc... Most of the time we get it about right, but as we have to provide forecasts at the intitaion stage this can sometimes catch us out

    I'd also be interested in other members experiences

    • Thanks for your reply Martyn,

      Agree with your point of not wanting to over-engineer but I'm finding it increasingly difficult to accurately forecast at the outset of a project and assign the right time to the different stages of the project. This can sometimes only be done when the diagnostic has been done and the learning solution(s) have been agreed. When you are working on multiple projects this sometimes causes problems as we may have initially forecast x hrs for a project and resource assigned then this changes following diagnostic. Perhaps it's the 'when' we forecast that needs to change?

      It's good to know that the 1hr deliver 8hrs design time is still being used though. We're playing with how we can display this coherently using excel but I guess it would be good to hear from others on the network on what they currently do and how this is managed

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