Training manuals are typically used to serve as a guide in achieving goals for a performed task. Although the concept of manuals usually applies to beginners, they can also prove helpful for persons familiar with the performed task. It would allow uniformity in achieving the desired goals. Basically, a manual is a book of instructions designed to improve a performed task.
The use of manuals is not limited only to businesses but also to all establishments who are involved in methodologies like the military, educational bodies, and even religious institutions. A new recruit will always require a manual. So does an experienced individual who is working in a new environment. These training tools can be used to:
Using these kinds of manual ensures consistency in the presentation of its content which includes skills, processes and other information. The manual ensures that performed tasks are always consistent in one form. Such manuals can also be designed as:
Training is a continuing process. Involving oneself with activities relevant to the performed task will further enrich one’s knowledge and experiences. This makes it easier for one to deal with future predicaments. Training does not end with the manual. It goes beyond that. Training based on manuals in only an event, a beginning. It becomes a process when the trainee (employee) starts involving himself/herself with tutorials, webinars, on screen guidance and learning apps.
But the importance of the manual should never be neglected. It is the cornerstone for making new employees ready to work. It has become an integral part of the training process. In analogy, it is the new employees ABC, their basic reference guide.
When designing a template, take into accounts to establish a powerful core yet still flexible enough to serve varied functions and still providing a personal user experience. A good manual should include these following basic elements:
This part should be concise, attractive and clear and should provide directly to new users the main purpose of the particular training program.
The instructions are crucial as they would give the directions to the user how to navigate through the varied parts of the training program. Providing the feature at the start would immediately catch the interest of the trainee at the same time empower them to independently navigate through the manual. This would at most give them a personalized training experience to match their individual learning styles.
With the necessary instructions on how they navigate through their training program, the next step is to introduce them to your objectives. With these clearly defined objectives (goals and targets) presented at the onset, the new employees can now navigate through the program. They will be transitioning from just trainees to new roles.
The Content of the Manual
This element will now define the heart of the material. The content of each manual will vary from program to program. Bear in mind that the contents are not static. In other words, the manual can use other forms of media (like videos and images) to maximize the deliverance of the content. This is extremely beneficial to the learning process.
The Surveys and/or Assessment
This aspect need not be integral to the content of the booklet. It may be independent so as to decide on its form. But it is a critical element it will determine the effectiveness of your program. It would also demonstrate if the trainees can effectively apply what they have learned. The second part of this is the importance of surveys as it would allow user feedback at the same time would serve as a gauge to trainee progress. It would shed light on where the program would need improvements.
The Summary and Some Follow Up Steps
Summarize the main points of the booklet in the most succinct way. You should include follow-up steps that would improve the ability of the users to reinforce what they have already learned. They can review previous manuals or/and tap additional sources. Lastly prepare the trainees to the next manual of the program, if any.
A Timeline or Schedule
Trainees have the option to organize their own time and pace themselves, for some kinds of training programs. This is more feasible than assigning them timelines which they may not be able to accomplish. Trainees may not be able to complete their training module on a rigid timetable. Flexibility should solve the problem. It allows trainees to set up their own schedules, stop/continue/pause their training depending on their availability. There are cases when training programs allow these situations and if applicable, they have to be included in the manual too.
Frequently Asked Questions
Most booklets now come with a list of FAQs. This would allow the trainee when confused to search for a solution to his problem. A great time saver.
Any Related Sources or Supplemental Material
If applicable, include any resources related to your training program as well as supplemental material. This would give the trainees more information about what they are learning.
These days technology is everywhere but concrete manuals are still very much essential. The design of your training manual template should include programs tailor made to the different learning habits. The manuals must not only include the primary, basic information but also the company materials, other supplementary manuals, and more specialized training programs.
The booklet made for training makes life easier for the employees of a business group. It provides mostly all the information needed to perform a certain task with minimal supervision. But this will all depend on the accuracy of the content. It is therefore imperative that for processes to go smoothly with maximum benefits, the manual should be researched and written well. Here are some benefits of a well-researched and well-written manual:
A well researched and well-written manual will prove a lifeline for employees when it comes to performing their tasks. Most often, the manual will contain procedures which will enable the employee to perform his assigned task with minimum interference from the supervisor.
Clearly, this will save time and effort for the employee, at the same time boosting his confidence. For example, if he were assigned to attend a conference out of state, he can refer to the manual while on his travel arrangements: what airline, what service car, how to communicate with the workshop delegates, etc. A good manual will provide all these information.
Upon the absence of a co-worker, work does not stand still. Refer to the manual on SOPs to finds out who else can take over the absentees job to ensure there is no vacancy in the continuity of that job.
The manual will provide SOPs that would make it easy to find out what policies and procedures are in place to handle repetitive situations/tasks.
Short job descriptions and contact details for each staff member will be contained in a good SOP manual. Such could easily provide you data on personnel who would be able to take over.
The SOP is a document that is always subject to change and always for the better.
It is therefore useful to have this kind of manual and to have a separate manual for training as well. You can reap a lot of benefits with a good manual containing well-researched procedures. Benefits for the employees, for the employers and also for the clients. Some useful tips in making a great training manual template comes next.
Some Tips When Making Training Manual Templates
Writing a manual is easy. The most important tip is to make it as simple as possible so as not to confuse the users. Follow these tips to be able to make a great template:
Write the Content in Plain English
Use words easily understood by the average user. Technical words should be avoided unless it is part of the workplace vocabulary. In such cases, you still have to explain these in simple and understandable terms. Acronyms and abbreviations should also be spelled out.
Practice Consistency in the Style and the Tone of Your Writing
Avoid long sentences and paragraphs. Be wary of punctuation marks. If paragraphs become too long because of multiple thoughts, break it down and use numbered steps. It would be much easier to understand your thought process.
If you Think You Need Graphics (like graphs, charts tables, pictures, screen displays) to Illustrate a Point, Include Them
Remember the adage, a picture is worth a thousand words. Also, users tend to be more appreciative if visuals are used. Like everyone else, they love pictures.
Write Your Table of Contents in Full Detail
It would facilitate finding information. having one makes the manual usable as a reference work for future use.
Proofread Your Whole Document
A very elementary step, yet it makes a great difference.
This part deals mostly with the form of the manual yet it is as important. Pay attention to all the details. Make it a habit to double check your work. In the end, it will all work out. We are now closing in on the substance part of the manual.
It is basically through training manuals that employees gain access to the policies of the company. Through it, new employees learn about the company, old employees about new systems or programs. The manual’s content is usually defined on what the company is for but there are general things that can be accomplished to help employees get the most of it.
Before making the manual, double check that you have all the relevant information that you need. Always think of your audience first, making sure that your work would make it easier for them to learn. Include in any relevant images and graphics, blank spaces for notes, some tests to review on how the trainees learn and a checklist of important tasks. Here are 3 techniques to guide you as you make your manual for training:
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