Types of Training Materials

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Colored chalk is a traditional training material.
Colored chalk is a traditional training material. (Image: pyramid of colored chalks image by Andrew Brown from Fotolia.com)

Training materials are important because they provide the means to educate learners. Many training materials are used to facilitate the learning process. These materials are normally selected by an instructional designer who understands adult learning and instructional design principles and methodologies.

Manuals

Training manuals are generally used in classroom environments, and their page numbers vary in length. Instructor-led manuals are developed specifically for instructors. They are very similar to student manuals, but additional information is added to enable instructors to guide the class. The additional information may be in the form of notes, including explanations that the instructor may give in class and/or details about activities to assist an instructor during the facilitation of training.

Job Aids

Job aids enable learners to have “the right information, at the right time, in the right format, and in the right place.” Job aids may be small boards that explain codes, methods for completing processes at work, or brief explanations of how a customer service representative should respond to a customer in a call center environment, for example.

Authoring Tools

Many companies use off-the-shelf authoring tools or software to design training in an e-learning/web-based or computer-based environment. Authoring tools are widely used because they enable learner interactivity with learners in different locations and accelerate the exchange of information. Some authoring tools include Adobe products (though some are formerly Macromedia products) such as: Acrobat, Adobe Connect, After Effects, AIR, ColdFusion, Design Premium, Dreamweaver, Flash Builder, Flash Professional, Flex, Illustrator, InDesign, LifeCycle Enterprise Guide, Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. You can purchase these products separately or in a package known as a “Creative Suite,” according to Adobe.com. Other tools include Adobe Captivate, TechSmith Camtasia and TechSmith Snagit screen capture software with audio and video features, and Articulate. Microsoft authoring tools for training include Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Publisher and Visio.

Tools for In-class Training

Back to the basics; it all began with overhead projectors and presentations conducted with Microsoft Powerpoint slides. These training materials are still used today, especially for large audiences. Additional training materials include items used to conduct training warmups and training activities, such as flash cards, a ball or an egg for games or flip charts, blackboards, dry-erase boards, paper, paper clips, post-its, markers, colored-pencils and glue.

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