“Can you find me a class on Crystal Reports?”
“Have you got a team-building workshop you can do for us?”
“We need some problem-solving training. What do you suggest?”

If you have been in training very long, you’ve heard these questions. Sometimes it seems that’s all we hear! Our customers come to us for training solutions (we hope!), and chances are we don’t provide a workshop or course that meets their every need. If you’ve ever needed to find a good course on a new topic, this week’s review may help.

If you’re like me and you have training to sell and need to find situations where people need the training that you deliver, never fear—this site can help. If you meet their criteria, you can list your courses in their database. So, if you are an internal practitioner or an external provider, you can use something like a marketplace or a clearinghouse to help you find each other. First Seminar is just that marketplace.

Mission accomplished
The site has a simple mission and is executed well. If you are looking for training courses, you can search their database of over 400,000 from this page. If you are a provider, you can fill out a request to have your courses considered for this database. Now that we know the site’s goal, let’s dive into the details.

Site sections
The site has only four main sections, reflecting the focus of the site. These sections are:

  • Introduction
  • Find It
  • List It
  • Comments

The Introduction section explains the company’s business model and describes the features of the service (one notable feature is that if you register for a workshop through this service you are guaranteed the lowest available price). In this section, there is a list of five tips to make you a better shopper for training. This area of the site is also where you can register your company with First Seminar, making it easier for your employees to use the service.

The Find It section lets you do just that—find the training you need! You can search by topic or title, and limit your search by a date range and to specific geographical areas if you wish. The site uses JavaScript, but in a nice design touch, it also offers you an alternative way to use the features if your browser doesn’t support JavaScript. After doing several sample searches, I was impressed with the results: With nearly 1,000 vendors and over 400,000 courses, all the searches I did came up with viable options. If you are interested in listing your company’s workshops, you’ll want to visit the List It section. You can determine the criteria and qualifications they use to determine qualified vendors and fill out the application online.

Final impressions
First Seminar features a simple, clean design. Its mission is clearly stated, and the site doesn’t deviate from this goal. While staying focused might seem easy, in today’s Web landscape it is to be lauded. If you or your customers need a place to find training, this would be a good place to start. An easy-to-use site that allows people who are offering training a way to find people who need training—it’s a valuable service, indeed! Figure A shows the summary of my review.

Figure A
Here’s Kevin’s summary of his review of FirstSeminar.com.

Kevin Eikenberry is president of the Discian Group, a learning consulting company in Indianapolis. If you would like to comment on this article or have any questions or suggestions of other Web sites to review, please follow this link to write to Kevin.

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