Everything you need to know when creating your own training manual
What is a training manual?
A training manual is quite simply a set of instructions. They are usually created to:
- Improve the quality and consistency of tasks and/or processes performed
- Teach someone something new
- Reduce on-the-job risks
- Give people the tools they need to excel in their job
- Inform or educate customers
Are printed training manuals still a thing?
The simple answer here is yes! Some companies choose to train using video, online platforms, and sometimes even audio but there is still a place for the physical printed training manual. In a manufacturing environment, paper-based products still work best; it allows trainees to refer back to the material if needed when on the job.
When face-to-face training, especially in a group situation paper-based materials work really well as they tend to be easier to follow at a different pace.
Paper-based training manuals are great for the less tech-savvy and tactile learners love a tangible resource.
How to create a training manual
When creating a training manual there are 3 key steps
Writing the content for your training manual
When creating a training manual there are a few different processes you need to go through, the first is creating the content.
It is always best to start at the end… what do you want people to know once they have completed the training? What is the ideal outcome?
Let’s take manual handling training as an example
When someone has completed this training, they will know how to:
- Lift items correctly
- Identify loads that could be unsafe to lift
- Apply gradual force when testing loads
- Perform a two-person symmetrical lift
- Handle devices such as barrows and trolleys
Once you know the objective of the training you can begin creating the content.
Key pages to include in your training manual
- Introduction – what is the overall aim of the training, how it will be delivered, and over what time frame? You can also add an introduction to your company here.
- Objectives – reinforce the goals, and make it really clear what you want the trainee to get out of this training.
- Instructions – this is the main bulk of your training manual, the actual learning. You want to make this as interactive as possible to make sure the user stays engaged throughout. Use images and screenshots along the way, over 65% of people are visual learners. Too much text can become boring and won’t sink in the way you want it to.
- Assessment – make sure the training has delivered on the objectives with an assessment or quick quiz at the end.
- Summary – reiterate the objectives and any next steps there may be. You can also add a feedback section in here to help you improve the training for future sessions.
- FAQs – use this space to add some extra information on things that are important but not part of the training itself.
Before you start designing your training manual it is a good idea to map out the content, think about the journey you want the trainee to take, and create a flat plan.
Designing your training manual
Before you start designing your training manual it is best to get together everything else you will need and save it all in one place. Find the images you will be using, take the screenshots and save them all in one neat folder.
When it comes to physically designing your training manual there are a lot of different aspects to think about. The overall look and feel of the training manual, the audience it is intended for, and how you are going to lay out the information to keep the user engaged.
You should keep your manual ‘on brand’, use your brand colours, fonts, and images to make sure that the finished product represents your company.
If you plan on designing the manual yourself then the first thing to decide is what software or program, you will be using. Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Canva have templates that can help you get started.
Getting your training manual printed
Before you have your training manuals printed it is always a good idea to test what you’ve created. Ask someone who has not done this training before to follow your manual. If they are unsure about anything or notice any errors, you can make changes before printing.
The top 3 things you need to think about when having your training manual printed
- Quality – you want to make sure your manual looks as good on paper as it does on screen. Finding a printer who can supply you a printed proof is a plus here.
- Usability – the binding you opt for can really affect the usability of your training manual. A wire-bound book or booklet is best as it will allow the pages to lay flat. You also want to think about the size you want it to be. Will the manual sit on a desk or be carried in a work bag? The paper you choose will also need some thought, are you intending on your trainees writing in the manual? If it is too thin any writing could seep through to the next page.
- Cost – once you have decided how many manuals you need you can get quotes for printing. You can get a quote for printing your training manual using our online calculator.
We are here to help! If you are thinking of creating your own training manual and want some help with design or printing pop us an email or give us a call on 01733 898102.