Data Visualisation Training Courses

Since delivering my first event in 2011 I have established myself as one of the most in-demand, prolific, and experienced providers of data visualisation training. 

I offer a range of different training events for public attendance and private organisation events, as well as different formats, whether delivered face-to-face in classroom settings, entirely online through virtual sessions, or through a hybrid approach.

There are also different types of training from the short-form ‘Essentials’, through the middle-length ‘Fundamentals’, and on to the long-duration ‘Masterclass’, each designed to suit different learning appetites, availability, and budgets. 

Days Training

The responsibility for handling, analysing and communicating data is a ubiquitous demand. The availability of data will never reduce and the appetite for extracting understanding from it will only increase. This means the emphasis on learning about, recognising, and employing sophisticated data visualisation practices are more important than ever.

Exponential advances in technology have provided us with ubiquitous means for creating, recording and mobilising incredible amounts of data. Where once data was scarce, now it is captured in abundance. Our attitudes as consumers have also evolved. We demand transparency and openness and yearn for insight and understanding through compelling visuals.

Whilst we have access to fantastic tools and widespread capabilities for data handling and analysis, the techniques required to most effectively display and communicate data are somewhat neglected. In a cluttered and competitive world, a design approach based on instinct or personal taste is no longer sufficient to cope with, let alone exploit, the fantastic opportunities our data repositories present us with.

This is where my training offerings can help you embrace the contemporary art and science of data visualisation. It is an art concerned with unleashing creativity and innovation, designing communications that appeal on an aesthetic level and survive in the mind on an emotional one. It is a science aimed at understanding and exploiting the way our eyes and brains process information most efficiently, effectively and accurately.

These courses are NOT technical – there are no ‘point-and-click’ tutorials – rather they focus on the craft of data visualisation which is rooted in understanding the complexities and inherently human aspects of communication. 

Training EVENTS

Private training is the most in-demand course event. Visualisation training can be delivered on-site for client organisations in the most convenient corporate locations and at the most convenient times. Clients will generally be responsible for arranging the venue for the training and curating the delegates in attendance. If your organisation is interested in hosting a private training event please send me an enquiry email to discuss your requirements. On the home page you can browse through the list of clients I’ve worked with to get a feel for the kind of organisations who have employed my training services.

Hosted training courses are variations of public courses whereby a third-party organisation hosts and organises a training event, and I deliver the training, but with attendance open to public delegates or a select groups of attendees. For example, this may be relevant in situations where a workshop is being offered alongside an associated conference event. Such events typically involve arrangements with organisers based on agreed flat-rate fees or a proportional share of revenue generated.

Public courses have been delivered virtually and in-person, all over the world. The locations of classroom-based events are always influenced by the expressed or perceived appetite of people who may be keen for training. If you are interested in attending a public training workshop in a city near you, please email an enquiry to explain your requirements. Public courses are open to, and relevant to, anybody with an interest in enhancing the sophistication of their visual communications, here are the upcoming courses.

FUNDAMENTALS OF DATA VISUALISATION | Virtual Training, Tue 4 & Wed 5 April - 2pm to 5pm (UK, BST) | 3 places left!

Training TYPES

The key characteristic that shapes the difference in training types is simply the duration and the greater breadth and depth of coverage longer courses offer. The training is not defined by ‘level’ – basic, intermediate or advanced – it is more about the amount of detail one can cover in the time available. The training types presented here are not sequential – you don’t progress through them. Instead they offer different sizes of training to suit different delegate or client needs in terms of availability to attend training and/or budget.

ESSENTIALS OF DATA VISUALISATION | This short-form training offers attendees a crash course in learning about the visual communication of data. The course is organised around several different themes that characterise the most critical aspects of data visualisation thinking | CLASSROOM or VIRTUAL OVERVIEW (1 x half-day).

FUNDAMENTALS OF DATA VISUALISATION | This training course provides attendees with a sophisticated understanding of how to effectively communicate data visually. The training aims to facilitate this understanding by de-constructing this complex, multi-disciplinary craft in to discrete topics that combine in to a thorough understanding of how to navigate through the many creative and analytical options that exist | CLASSROOM OVERVIEW (1 full-day) | VIRTUAL OVERVIEW (2 x half-days).

MASTERCLASS IN DATA VISUALISATION | Similar in structure to the ‘Fundamentals’ training, but with more room to go deeper into the subject and to integrate a greater number of practical exercises included, the long-form Masterclass training provides attendees with an advanced understanding of how to effectively communicate data visually. The training goes into greater detail about all the different aspects of contextual, analytical, editorial, and design thinking, exploring the many options that exist and the nuances that lead to effective decision-making | CLASSROOM OVERVIEW (2 x full-days) | VIRTUAL OVERVIEW (3 x 4 hours).

Training FORMATS

All training courses – private, public, or hosted – are offered in face-to-face classroom format, through entirely virtual online delivery, or via hybrid sessions that are primarily in-person but accommodate remote attendees.

There are different benefits with each: in-person teaching offers a superior setting for personal interactions between delegates and between delegates and the trainer. It is the best environment for injecting and preserving the energy of a session. Learning can be hard, but the necessary efforts of participation can be eased by making sessions fun and well-paced. This is far easier to accomplish when in-person. In public and hosted courses, delegates have the chance to mix with people with different backgrounds, talents and organisational experiences. In private courses there is a team-building dynamic that benefits these occasions.

Teaching virtually is arguably more intense for trainer and learner, having to concentrate on a screen for prolonged periods can be draining. However, with sufficient breaks and reduced overall duration, there is a terrific efficiency that comes with online delivery, enabling people to attend events that otherwise may be obstructed by geographical or availability reasons. Virtual learning aligns well for those people who may prefer to not attend events with groups. Crucially, online delivery facilitates session recording, giving attendees access to videos to recap content they may have missed or failed to grasp at the time.

Currently, online courses are being delivered using Zoom with Microsoft Teams likely to be introduced as an option in the near future, recognising its alignment with the technology preferences of many organisations.

In all course formats, Miro is used as a digital whiteboard for handling and preserving class activities and Dropbox and/or Google Drive are used for digitally sharing all course materials (slides, exercise files, other resources).

Class sizes for public courses are typically set to an ideal number of 16 people though a venue’s capacity or delivery platform may dictate slightly more or fewer.

For private or hosted events, the client is ultimately invited to decide what size works best for their needs but they are generally recommended to be no smaller than ~8 people and no larger than ~24.  The aim is always to optimise the balance between a supportive learning environment with opportunities for one-to-one instruction as well as having sufficient numbers for valuable group interactions and activities.

Training CONTENT

Regardless of the type of format of training, all workshops share the aim of providing delegates with an accessible and comprehensive understanding of data visualisation: the art of communicating data visually. There are four over-riding learning objectives for these workshops, regardless of size and format:

  • To challenge your existing thinking about creating and consuming visualisation works, refining the clarity of your convictions about effective visualisation design.
  • To equip you with an appreciation of all the analytical and design choices available across the creative workflow: the options that exist and what decisions to take.
  • To provide an opportunity to practice by undertaking focused activities at each stage of the creative workflow, applying and cementing the learning at each stage.
  • To inspire you by broadening your visual vocabulary, by exposing you to the latest techniques and contemporary resources, and by giving you the confidence to enhance your data visualisation capabilities.

The focus for all workshops is to impart the craft of this discipline, helping delegates to know what to think, when to think about and how to resolve all the analytical and design decisions involved in any data-driven challenge.

The breadth and depth of content will vary depending on the type and format of workshop, as will the range of practical exercises, but the topics that are generally always covered across all event types include:

  • Defining data visualisation, infographics and other related design activities
  • Overview of a process-driven approach for efficiency and effectiveness
  • The key principles of good data visualisation design
  • The role of consuming and creating in sophisticated visualisation literacy
  • The influence of contextual requirements and circumstances
  • Understanding the ingredients of the 7-hats of visualisation
  • Profile of some of the key visualisation tools, applications and libraries
  • Overview of useful tutorials using the ‘chartmaker directory’
  • A landscape of contemporary techniques and styles of visualisation work
  • Assessing the physicality and meaning of your data
  • Using visual techniques to explore data
  • The components of editorial thinking
  • The data visualisation design anatomy
  • The building blocks of data encoding
  • The spectrum of different chart types and their roles
  • The features and role of interactivity in visualisation design
  • The role of effective annotation for assistance and insight
  • Colour theories and best practice applications
  • The architectural considerations for composing a visualisation work

These courses are taught in a technology-agnostic way: they are not focused on or based around any specific tool or programme. However, there will typically be a section providing an overview of some of the most essential and common visualisation tools currently in the market.

All materials will be issued digitally, with delegates receiving copies of all training presentation materials, exercise files, and a range of further useful references. Attendees of any course format or type will need laptops to use as a workspace for but will only Excel, a browser and a pdf reader. No other technical prerequisites exist.

Who should attend?

These workshops are for anyone looking to develop their competence and confidence with making sense of and communicating data. With over 7500 people having attended these training events since 2011, the spread of characteristics shows they are relevant to people from all backgrounds: all duties, all skills, and all organisation types.

You might be an analyst, statistician, or researcher looking to enhance your data capabilities. Perhaps you’re a skilled designer or developer looking to take your portfolio of work into a more data-driven direction. Maybe you do not personally get involved in the analysis or visualisation of data but coordinate others who do. You might be a frequent consumer of data visualisations looking to increase the sophistication of how you read, interpret and evaluate the effectiveness of such designs. These events are intended for all audience types and levels.