Application of the IMI Education and Training Standards at FORUM Institut für Management GmbH
Commercial course providers can find it challenging to gain recognition as a provider of high-quality training that meets the needs of their audiences; there is no commercial equivalent of the accreditation process that higher education institutes go through.
Commercial course providers can find it challenging to gain recognition as a provider of high-quality training that meets the needs of their audiences; there is no commercial equivalent of the accreditation process that higher education institutes go through. Nevertheless, both academic and industrial organisations rely enormously on staff training provided by commercial course providers.
Henriette Wolf-Klein is Department Manager for the Pharma department at the FORUM Institut für Management GmbH. Her department develops and delivers around 450 1-3-day training events a year, many in response to one-off requests from pharma companies.
Henriette learned about the IMI education and training quality standards at a LifeTrain meeting in 2012. She asked herself whether it would be beneficial to apply the standards to the training events that her team organises, and decided to try. Her rationale included the following:
• Meeting the standards would enable FORUM to evaluate its own approach by means of standardised and measurable parameters
• Applying the standards would enable her to develop new, measurable indicators of the quality of service that FORUM provides to its clients
• Opportunities for quality improvement would be more easily recognised
• Applying the quality standard might enable courses to become sustainable more rapidly
• Being part of an open community with shared values might further professionalise FORUM’s public image.
Henriette has documented how her department meets the standards, and seven of the nine standards are now routinely met. Two remain challenging – not only to FORUM but to many course providers delivering training outside of the higher-education sector. In many cases there simply is no system for independent approval, monitoring and review of the training offered, making it challenging to meet the first standard. It is also not always possible to assess whether learning outcomes have been met (the seventh standard) in the timeframe of the training provided; assessing whether training has been applied effectively in the workplace can only be done by the professional and his or her manager some time after the training has taken place.
FORUM’s input has helped to open a broad dialogue among the LifeTrain community about what constitutes evidence of competency in the trainee, and what constitutes evidence of training quality outside of full-time education. Although LifeTrain has not yet solved these problems, it has brought together a group of committed individuals with the will to solve them in the future.