How To Prepare Training Materials

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Training materials are important in any occupation, and the person in charge of preparing them actually has an important influence on the short-, medium- and long-term trajectory of the organization. Training materials are the basis for how an organization functions, and it is necessary to adhere to a few basic principles to make sure training materials are appropriately designed and applied to the department for which they are relevant.

  • Decide on the skill level the materials are supposed to address. If the training materials are meant to apply to a veteran of the organization rather than a rookie, it will be less necessary to cover the basic, rudimentary stuff. For example, a new recruit in a police station will likely require an extensive glossary, a description and diagram of the station, and a list of basic procedures unique to the station in addition to the basic training manual relevant to the department (e.g., homicide, fraud, etc.).

  • Choose the medium meant to carry the training materials. Sometimes a book is better than software, and vice versa. For example, training materials in binder and book form are more appropriate for a police officer than for a graphic designer, because the former spends a critical part of his or her training time in the field and away from the computer, while the latter completes their assignments all on the computer. Thus, the training materials must be prepared in accordance with the particular demands and locations of the occupation the training materials are about.

  • Create the actual materials and pay especially close attention to clarity, neatness and design. Every sentence and design must be unambiguous, every page must feel uncluttered and the overall design should be professional, not overly glossy and applied consistently throughout the materials.

  • Deliver a draft version of the materials to your superior and colleagues for review. It is essential the training materials are approved by a superior in order to distribute responsibility for the materials and ensure they are of the highest quality. Be extraordinarily critical of the draft versions of the materials.

  • Edit the draft, distribute the materials to the appropriate people and establish a focus group of people that used the materials to review their effectiveness. Pay close attention to the criticisms, and take extensive notes. Edit the materials again after the focus group meeting. By this time, the training materials should be in final edition form.

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