The only person who can really answer that question is the pupil. If the training provider is to maintain integrity it should aim to help the pupil discover what works best for them. Some pupils will have had quite enough after an hour or so of practice, whereas others love the idea of longer sessions and the opportunity for increased progress.
But some people may only have had their experience of academic learning so far in their life and may think that learning a practical skill is going to be a similar experience. Or maybe, the attraction of shortening the learning experience is so powerful that it blinds judgement.
This is why BIG TOM invests plenty of time in communicating with the customers prior to any bookings to properly consider these factors. Our experience of teaching has helped us develop flexibility in our training package options. It is true that some intensive course providers only provide a fixed length course, 20 hours for example appears to be fairly common, as if to suggest that 20 hours is bound to be the correct amount of practice needed for all customers. Training people rarely works like that, if only life was that simple.
We can adjust courses to meet varied customer’s needs. And we have safety nets designed into the process so that a customer receives the option of continued support should they require it. The learning path that people take is unique to them and we at BIG TOM do not judge, compare or persuade. What we DO is offer options, and let the customer decide what they want to do.
Let’s think of an example that typifies what we are asking our customers to ponder.
You and your friends are starting a band, something that you have all been very interested in for many years. But you know that you aren’t able yet to play the drums to the required standard. You are not a beginner, you have practised playing drums for a while. You recall taking drumming lessons at school but it was not taken very seriously. Your Uncle who also used to play drums has given you a few pointers but you have not had any proper lessons from a professional.
Your mates are happy to see you are planning your lessons and ask you how long it will take. They want to know because they are keen to start practising typical songs that they think will feature in future sessions. You ask them to give you a while before you can answer that question. And as soon as you can, you go online and see what resources are available. Some of it is free and perhaps useful but not exactly what you are looking for – you know you need someone to specifically look at you while you practise.
There are a few music teachers near you and you take the time to research them to see what they offer. Most of the teachers just offer individual lessons for a fixed rate and they openly say over the phone that it can take a considerable amount of time to get to the required standard. There are a couple of teachers who offer an accelerated training program, with quite a large number of hours in the package but it is done in quite a quick time. For the first time you now realise that realistically, to get to the required standard, whichever way you choose, it is actually going to be a hefty financial investment. The more intensive courses are extremely attractive because you can visualise being ready so much quicker, but how do you know if the amount of hours is going to be right for you? How do you know if you will enjoy having so much practice so often? And the package prices are far from cheap.
The problem is that there are competing demands in play here. You want to learn the drums ideally as soon as possible so that you can be in the band. You aren’t sure if you will actually like doing regular, longer sessions – you are not even sure if that is how you like to learn. Do you just settle for the weekly lesson and hope the band can wait for you?
Not easy is it? As an authentic training provider, with integrity, we know how important it is to offer a training course that provides the customer with a realistic opportunity of achieving their goal. The ‘easy’ option of course is to just settle for weekly lessons and hope that your band members will wait. Maybe they will, perhaps they won’t.
But we are developing safe, confident and competent drivers – rather than knocking out the beats on a tune. The stakes are high and it is all the more important to consider this carefully without any prejudice.
All of this work is done centrally within BIG TOM Admin, on behalf of our franchisees. It is vitally important to consider with care as the consequences are very real. As a franchisee running your own driving school, providing BIG TOM courses, you will automatically have access to all the relevant factors that have been considered. There is full transparency for you to be informed and engaged in the pupil’s needs when you provide the in-car training. This means that there are no gaps in communication, where knowledge about the pupil has been missing; such as any learning difficulties, or previous trauma in a vehicle, or progress made on previous driving training. The transition from course booking to in-car training is seamless.
As you can see, offering more options for customers comes with added responsibility which we know about due to our experience, and we therefore know deserves attention and meticulous planning. Several years of experience means that we assess and plan training programmes to be safe, individually tailored and provide meaningful opportunities for successful outcomes.