Training materials are staples in any well-run business. These instructional guides lay out the groundwork for employee protocol and performance. They also assure that there is a written product to enforce any expected practices.
Designing any type of training material is not a particularly difficult process once you have a general idea of what to include. Most designers follow a well-known procedure for instructional resources called the Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation and Evaluation or ADDIE model. ADDIE is an acronym that lays out the five key steps every designer should take to create an optimal training supplement.
A: Analysis of the Audience – With any writing, the first step needs to involve identifying the audience. This will determine a lot of key details of the material, from the writing style to the design. Writers should pay particular attention to the pre-existing knowledge of their readers. What do they know about this area? What instructions or definitions can you afford to leave out? A careful analysis of the audience for these training materials will provide critical details regarding how you should proceed.
“Consider formatting training instructions like a recipe.”
D: Development of Training/Instructional Materials – The development method is a pretty literal process. This is where the material is developed and assembled. This process involves a lot of revision and editing from everybody involved in the design phase. According to the Instructional Design Experts, testing is the most critical part of the development technique. Make sure to run tests often throughout the process. Writers should try and see these materials through the eyes of an inexperienced employee. As you read through the instructions, could you perform the task in the intended manner by just following these new materials? Are the expectations clear? If not, work with designers and writers to fix the problem.
D: Design of Training and Objectives – Once you have determined your audience it’s time to move on to the planning phase. Department leaders should sit down and determine the ultimate objectives of the material. What message are you trying to convey and in what manner do you want to convey it? The set-up design depends largely on your audience. However, it is best practice to create simple instructional guides. This way, your materials can be used for a much broader audience. Langevin suggested formatting instructions like a recipe. Lay out the steps needed to complete a task in an easy and ordered manner. Keep it basic. This phase of the process will also include decisions regarding design style. As with instructions, try to keep your material design simple and uncluttered. Remember, the purpose of these products is to instruct – the less distraction from the actual substance of the materials, the better.
I: Implementation – The process for creating a training manual extends beyond the pages of your material. In the implementation stage, business leaders should be educated on how to properly train new or old employees using these mediums. Leaders should take advantage of providers like Mimeo that offer secure delivery of content to multiple users and allow them to print off materials as needed. This stage is just as critical as the actual creation of the manual. Make sure staffers in charge of training are conveying the right messages and relaying the crucial meaning behind these training materials.
The question to ask during evaluation is: Were the materials effective?
E: Evaluation of Training – The final stage of ADDIE involves an overall evaluation of the products once they have been distributed. Feedback can come from the trainees or their relevant managers. The question to be posed during the stage is: Were the materials effective? In earlier stages of ADDIE, your team should have created a desired outcome. The evaluation process is all about ensuring that these materials have delivered your business the intended outcome.
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