Successful training programs require the development of many different training artefacts and collateral. These include things such as training manuals, quick reference guides, slide decks, user guides, participant guides, training activities, lesson plans, training plans, eLearning modules and more. These materials are developed in association with the training professional and subject matter experts from the business.
1. Before any materials are developed though, the course curriculum, modules, structure, modes of delivery and content need to be mapped out in a training strategy, approach and plan then reviewed and signed off by the project sponsor, SMEs, key stakeholders and project team. It is critical to get the plan in place as early as possible and get agreement to all of the above to ensure the business is fully engaged and supportive of the plan for development of the materials for the learning program.
2. Quality materials should be aesthetically pleasing to the eye. The visual layout should be such that they are easy to read and digest, follow a logical sequence and highlight the key components of information required by the learner to meet the learning objectives. Templates and materials should follow visual and instructional design principles to ensure the quality of the items created is maintained to the highest standard.
3. To achieve a consistent look and feel across the suite of materials developed for the learning program, templates for common programs such as Word and PowerPoint should be used. The templates developed should adhere to the style guides and visual communications standards of the organisation they are being developed for. These are often available from internal communications or marketing teams and HR. Once developed, the templates need to be distributed to all the staff developing training materials for the program so that a consistent look and feel is maintained.
4. The review and approval process can be difficult and confusing if the process is not agreed and communicated up front to the entire project team. The best way to manage the review, update and approval of documents is to use a document management system such as SharePoint if available. This will allow individual team members to check documents out and lock them while they are updating or reviewing them. Be sure to get reviewers to turn track changes on on documents when they are reviewing. This will allow you to quickly track and accept updates. Alternatively, provide hard copies or PDF to reviewers, but always have an agreed review-by date for return of feedback.
Engagement with your project team, sponsor and key stakeholders is key for the successful development of your training materials. Agreeing content and process for review and approval up front will remove room for misunderstanding and reduce any likelihood of miscommunication amongst the team. Use templates and follow visual design guidelines to ensure a consistent look and feel for all materials developed as part of the learning program.