How to Prepare Training Manuals

Training manuals are guides to greater knowledge and performance.
Training manuals are guides to greater knowledge and performance. (Image: Hemera Technologies/ Images)

The increase in web-based training, webinars and on-line training has increased the need for clear, easy-to-follow, visual and interactive training manuals. Once the hour or so of training is over, training manuals remain as reference materials to continue and reinforce learning. Since adults learn in different ways, manuals should present material in different formats such as text, pictures, drawings, charts, graphs and quizzes. Use of color and images contribute to their interest and organization. A manual that just occupies space on a shelf is a poor investment in time and money.

Things You'll Need

  • Work policies
  • Work procedures
  • Written training objectives

Narrow the training scope. Writing a manual for a class on management skills would require a finished product on the scale of War and Peace. A class on writing job descriptions is manageable. Writing job descriptions for sales personnel is even better. A specific topic helps the writer compose a clear manual and the trainee to focus on the target training.

Gather reference materials, policies and other information to develop your content. Customize the material to the subject, department or company objectives. Use real-world examples and case studies. Subjective or theoretical material may stimulate creative thinking or advance the writer’s personal objectives, but may not produce the expertise intended for the training. The training manual should take reliable information gathered from credible sources and present it in a way that gets results on the job.

Organize the material in a logical manner. If your objective is to train new employees on how to use the Intranet system, an explanation of what it is and how it is utilized is a possible first step. Making changes to your employee information jumps over several basic steps like logging on to the system and what to do if you forgot your password. Once written, have an employee follow the training steps to see if the information is complete.

Add some excitement. Once the material is complete, add some interest with color, design, graphics, interactive quizzes, photographs, diagrams, drawings and materials. Have someone familiar with the subject matter review the materials. Recruit a group of subject matter experts and some new to the material to participate in a pilot training session and gather feedback. Make adjustments as necessary before rolling the training and the manual out for general use.

Design a colorful manual cover with the company logo and other graphics from the manual sections. Craft a catchy title for the training. Have some fun. Make the manual cover intriguing as well as informative.

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