To write an effective training manual, you need to carefully consider the needs of your trainees. What are the key skills that they will need to be successful? The instructions in this post will help you to carefully craft your training materials for optimal effectiveness, and you'll find other helpful resources to make the job easier.
If you need a training manual template, click here.
1. Define the scope of your training.
Outline the scope of your training. Which skills are the most essential for trainees to learn? Be sure to consider what your audience already knows about the subject. For product training manuals, get as much feedback as possible from product support staff, developers, sales associates, and the customers themselves. For employee training, clearly define the tasks employees must learn to be effective on the job, and be sure to get feedback from existing employees.
2. Create list of procedures or policies.
Use your outline to generate a list of procedures that trainees need to complete. Much of the writing process will be focused on procedures. For example, "Creating a new account". These procedures should be ordered in a manner that allows your audience to learn progressively more difficult tasks. Each procedure should build upon knowledge from previous procedures.
3. Use your template to draft your procedures or policies.
Open your template and use the placeholders to fill in the details for your procedures and other content. After you are finished, write introductory content for each procedure that tells trainees what they will learn. Follow each policy or procedure by summarizing what was learned.
4. Add graphics to enhance learning.
Adding graphics to your training content will help trainees understand concepts more clearly. A graphic should be used when a visual explanation gets your point across more effectively than text, or enhances what is explained in the text to address visual learners. Also, be sure to add your corporate logo to the cover page to help establish your brand.
5. Add navigation aids.
After drafting your content, use the navigation sections in your template to add a table of contents and index. These tools will help trainees find important information quickly.
6. Have others review your work.
Ask other experts on your product or process to review your training manual or other training documents to ensure accuracy, and that you've covered the necessary content.
These steps should help you in writing a training manual that will help your trainees become experts.
Books on writing training manuals
Here is a list of highly-rated books to help you through the process.
- "The Training Design Manual: The Complete Practical Guide to Creating Effective and Successful Training Programmes" by Tony Bray
- "Developing Training Courses : A Technical Writer's Guide to Instructional Design and Development" by Rives Hassell-Corbiell
- "Writing Training Materials That Work: How to Train Anyone to Do Anything" by Wellesley R. Foshay, Kenneth H. Silber, and Michael Stelnicki
- "How to Write & Prepare Training Materials" by Nancy Stimson
- "Preparing Instructional Objectives: A Critical Tool in the Development of Effective Instruction" by Robert F. Mager