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4 Questions When Choosing In-House vs. Outsourced Training Venues


Should corporate training be conducted onsite or offsite? While there is no right or wrong answer to this question, the place where you conduct training is critical to the success of your program.

One of the largest factors in deciding whether or not to hold training onsite or offsite is cost. On its face, onsite training may appear to be the wiser choice. But when you consider costs associated with resources, technology and support, a training offsite location may provide a better option. 

Before you plan your next training event, we recommend your team answers these four important questions:

1. Does your company have adequate space to conduct the training in-house?

Training space is more than just a room with tables, chairs, and computers—it’s a place where new skills and ideas are born, with the purpose of translating those experiences into higher productivity and a competitive advantage for organizations. Where you hold your employee training sets the tone for the event and can make the difference between success and failure. 

Choosing a training center that is designed for training demonstrates your commitment to learners, the organization and learning outcomes. The Journal of Research in Innovative Teaching from National University, LaJolla, CA noted a marked difference in learning outcomes between onsite and offsite training in terms of increased student retention rates. The study cited that memory retention was higher for learners in professional training environments where experiences such hands-on learning are available.

Similarly, in a recent Training Magazine article, Michael Molinaro, VP, and CLO at New York Life Insurance Company underscored the benefits of training offsite stating, “Being physically in the office can make it difficult to mentally break from work. Going offsite allows participants to both physically and mentally separate from the work environment and understand that they’re putting that time aside.”

2. Does your company have the internal resources to manage event details, such as technical support and instructional delivery?

When planning a training onsite, you may be faced with limited resources to handle event logistics and technical support. For example, internal IT and administrative staff is most likely already busy with other tasks and may not be available (or qualified) to provide the assistance and support you need.

And then there is the issue of instructors. Are you relying on internal subject matter experts to deliver the training? While this may seem like a good option, teaching may not be their core competency. In this case, consider working with a managed services provider who can source the talent you need to ensure quality instruction.

3. Does your organization have the technology to handle the training?

virtual training technology clasroom training

Many office environments are not equipped with the teaching tools or technology instructors and learner will need during training. Items such as projectors, electronic teaching aids, virtual training tools, and dedicated bandwidth are all necessary items that when not available, can disrupt the learning process. Offsite training venues are built for learning and will include all of the advanced technology and technical support you need so that instructors and learners can concentrate on course content. Using an offsite facility allows you to take advantage of up-to-date technology without a long-term investment in your own equipment. Experts recommend that a company fully evaluate the ROI of that kind of in-house investment in learning technology before taking that path. 

4. Is it more cost-efficient to pay-per-day for training space or to own? 

Many companies have invested millions of dollars building onsite facilities for employee training, only for it to become unused or under-utilized. When considering whether to lease or own dedicated training space consider these options:

Direct Expense Savings

—Depending on the amount of training your organization does, utilizing an outsourced training venue could lead to considerable savings on direct expenses such as real estate, IT hardware and infrastructure, utilities and furnishings.

Lower Indirect Expenses

—For many organizations, the indirect labor costs of managing in-house training facilities and events can far outstrip direct costs. By working with a training outsourcing partner that provides technical support and simplified planning and scheduling, training organizations can save considerably.

MicroTek's proprietary market research has found that the fixed real estate-associated costs of an in-house learning space can total up to $229,000 annually, while renting a training space can amount to just over $1,000 a day—or even less.

The following chart breaks down in comparative fashion the relative costs of in-house vs. outsourced training venues:  

In-house v Outsourced Infographic Training Venues and Classroom Training Rentals

Your choice of training space can affect more than just the bottom line. Read our post, "Why a Training Venue Matters," for more information on how your venue can impact overall training success.

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