Many high-quality training companies will offer some kind of post-training support to you and your team. Ideally, this should be free of charge or for a small subscription fee - after all, it's designed to "mop up" any issues left over from training sessions, not to re-train you in entirety. How do you know if you're getting a good deal? Here are some aspects of training support forums that you should look out for.

Online or Offline?

Online training support forms are by far the easiest and most inexpensive option for both your company and your training provider. Some companies offer follow-up training by phone, but that means that it's not always answered by the best person and you're also going to pay for the cost of the call.

You may be able to email questions and queries to your training provider too, but this means that you won't be able to see if anyone else has asked the same question (a bit like a FAQ) and also to see how many of your colleagues are also having the same issue.

Online training is the easiest and cheapest because you can post a question any time you like, especially at the end of the working day when you've got more time! Also, it means more than one member of staff at the training company can see the query and get the best possible answer. On top of that, other people who have access to the forum can already read previous questions and answers, so it may save them having to post anything at all.

Is it well maintained?

It's all very well having an online forum provided as part of your post-training support, but if it takes a week for someone to answer your question or help you, that's a week of not knowing a vital element of the training that could be affecting you at work. Most companies should respond within 48 hours, and the best ones take even less time than this.

There should also be frequent updates as to whether a question has been answered or not - or "resolved". Therefore you know that your question has been answered or not, rather than checking the forum several times a day. It also stops you re-posting queries that are similar and already 'in progress' with someone else.

Free or paid, and for how long?

Ideally, online training support should be free, but in some cases you may be charged a small fee - but only a small one - it's a red flag if you're charged a lot of money for a service that really acts as a safety net for the training, rather than constituting training itself. You may get 6 months free support, but 12 is better. Also, there may be the option to extend it, and for other colleagues to use the same forum - this is the ideal, as it allows more collaborative working.

Overall, online support forums are an excellent service to have at your disposal after you've participated in a training course. IF you're not provided with one - ask why, and perhaps your chosen company will start one. If they're already offering it, you can use the tips above to see where you're getting more value for money from your training company.