Pre-course preparation for online delegates

Here at Armada, all of our courses are short and intensive, designed to teach you a skill rapidly. So, we don’t have time to waste.

One of my key responsibilities at Armada is to ensure that our online delegates have everything they need in place at the start of their course, so we can crack on with the training. There can be a little more to do than you might first think!

In the week prior to each course commencing, myself or one of my colleagues in our Operations team sends an email to delegates containing the information they need to participate in their course. This includes a clear list of the items required, and the things you need to have in place.

We understand our course delegates are busy, and preparing for their course might not be their top priority, but we encourage you to look at this email ASAP. Not all of the items required can necessarily be put into place quickly and, if you need assistance from us, we’re in a better position to provide it in advance than on the morning of the course. We often have 10 or more courses running concurrently, and to say things can be frantic in our office first thing as courses get underway is something of an understatement (though we try not to let this show 😀).

What needs to be in place?

Each course is different with different requirements. The typical requirements are as follows…

Software installed and working

Most (but not all) of our courses teach the use of a software application. Our training is hands-on and practical, so you’ll need to have access to the application to practice as you learn.

Installing a software application can be troublesome, and not necessarily quick. If you have a problem, the extent to which we can assist is limited, but we can often point you to assistance. For example, if you’re installing an Autodesk application, such as AutoCAD or Revit, we can point you to Autodesk’s technical support (via a chat facility).

Issues our delegates quite often encounter are:

  • They don’t have the privileges required to install an application and so it must be done by, for example, their IT Department, which can result in a delay.
  • They don’t have a license for the software that’s required. In this case, we can often send them a link to fully-functional trial software to download and install. For Autodesk applications, if a delegate has already used their trial (most can only be used on a computer once), we can lend them a license for the duration of their course.

Course files downloaded and extracted

For most of our courses, you’ll download files and resources that you’ll utilise throughout your course.

These should be downloaded and unzipped, usually to your desktop. We recommend that you try opening a couple of these files to make sure they have downloaded correctly.

Some courses have additional requirements, for example you may need to download and install libraries that are provided as ‘extras’ to the application being taught. When this is required, full details are provided in the email you’ll receive from us.

Training guide available

For most of our courses, you have the choice of a printed guide that we post to you, or PDF that you download. You need to make sure you have this available.

Correct hardware setup in place

In summary, you must have:

  • Audio, to hear and be heard.
  • A webcam, so we can see you. This is something we insist on for good reasons. Our trainers often gauge whether a delegate understands something from their expression. It also helps to build rapport and a better all-round environment if everyone can see each other, and makes for a better course. You wouldn’t come into an in-class course with a paper bag on your head, would you?
  • For most courses, an external mouse with a scroll wheel. We’ll teach you techniques you simply can’t perform with a laptop trackpad.

We also recommend that you have two screens, one to follow the training, and the other to run application. Switching between the two is extremely difficult, and makes for a poor training experience.

You can check our hardware requirements and recommendations at

Background reading

For some of our courses, if you’re completely new to the application you’re being taught, we recommend some background reading and some video tutorials to watch. This is to ensure you have a basic level of familiarisation that will enable you to ‘hit the ground running’ when your course starts. Again, full details are provided in the email you’ll receive.

Pre-course call

In the days prior to your course, myself or one of my colleagues in Armada’s Operations team will give you a call. This will be a short, informal ‘chat’, the primary purpose of which is to make sure you have everything required in place, and also to answer any questions you may have.

You’ll be surprised how often I’m told “Yes, I have everything ready”, but then, when I run through a checklist of the items above, I get “I didn’t realise that was required”.

I sometimes feel like I’m nagging, but please be assured I’m doing it for the right reasons. I want to make sure everyone has everything required in place, and we don’t have a group of people waiting around for one person who hasn’t prepared properly.

If nothing else, I hope this post has helped you to understand why you can’t begin to prepare for your online training at 9am on the morning of your course!

Emma Millward, Senior Operations Consultant

About the author

Emma Millward is a Senior Operations Consultant. Along with her colleagues in Armada's Operations team, Emma is responsible for making arrangements for our courses, and ensuring everything runs smoothly on the day. Many of our course delegates will hear from Emma, by email and/or phone, in the days prior to their course. Prior to working at Armada, Emma worked as a hair stylist, and then in a variety of administrative roles. Emma is kind and helpful by nature. She's also taken up the unofficial position of being Armada's Social Secretary, organising our Christmas party and other get-togethers.

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