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How is a Course Calendar like a Restaurant Menu?

I wrote this text (below) in the context of a Strategic Review I conducted for the Training Department of a big international development NGO. They wanted to explore ways to transform their existing training practice into a more contemporary “learning” model.

I pulled this text out again today because I am writing a manual for a facilitation learning programme that we are developing for a partner right now. I wanted to remind myself of this and thought I would share it.


A Learning Programme calendar, course description, or even agenda, is an intervention opportunity not to be missed. In a world of choice, it is a perfect way to communicate and feature your learning product(s) to potential learners, whether in-house or external.

Imagine that your learning programme was an excellent quality restaurant and the learners were valued diners. What is on the menu for your selective learning customers? Does it look good? Does it sound like something that the diner would enjoy? Would it satisfy her? Will the final product deliver what it promises on the menu?

How can learning providers (or facilitators) write their programme calendars, descriptions and agendas like a menu at a great restaurant and mean it? People need to read the course description and say, I want to take that course!

Consider testing course titles and descriptions on colleagues and potential learners first. Bear in mind, these tantalizing descriptions must also be true, nothing is worse than ordering a delicious sounding dish and having it turn out to not be as good as it looks on the menu!

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