Short courses - staff resources


Assess demand for your course

If you've got an idea for a short course or CPD, check whether there's likely demand for it, whether it's offered elsewhere, and whether learners would want to do it at UCL.

Identifying your learners

Knowing more about your potential target audience is vital for all subsequent phases of your course’s development. Who your learners are will affect:

  • How you design the course to meet their needs
  • How much you charge
  • Your teaching and marketing resources
  • How to make your course stand out from the competition
  • How you describe and market your course.

For example, if your primary target group is PhD students, they're unlikely to have a large income and you'll need to keep your course price and budget relatively low. If they are clinicians, you might be able to charge more, but you’d need to highlight how your course can benefit clinical outcomes and their own professional development.

For each potential target audience, write down:

  • What are their needs?
  • What problem are you helping them to solve?
  • How can you make them better at their job or inspire their passion?
  • Why would they decide to do (or not do) this particular course?
  • How could you reach this particular audience?

Identifying possible competition

The short course market can be competitive, and understanding where similar courses and subject matter are offered and by whom is important. Knowing this can help you target the right kinds of learners, explain how they will benefit from your course, and give you an idea of how much you can charge for it.

To find out what your competitors are offering you could conduct desk-based and primary research:

  • Search online for key terms that reflect the content of your course
  • Sign up to competitors' mailing lists
  • Ask potential learners a survey question about courses they've seen elsewhere.

It is worth keeping an up-to-date record of your competitor analysis that contains all the key details of comparison, such as course title, format of delivery, length, price and USPs.


Assessing demand for your course: a template to help you explore your potential target audience and competitors