The success of your training program isn’t based solely on the quality of the content. The design of your printed training materials matters too. How information is presented within your training manuals and course books plays a big role in how well learning is retained and applied.
We’ve compiled these industry-sourced ideas to transform your course materials and support a multi-dimensional approach to learning.
1. Design your printed training materials with user experience (UX) in mind
Design plays an extremely important role in the usability of your training materials. White space, font choices, visual cues, colors, and content flow all play a role in how thoroughly and quickly learners consume and understand the information being presented. Here are a few ways to increase the usability of your materials.
- Present Content in Shorter Sections
In today’s digital world, most learners have difficulty focusing on longer pieces of text. Reduce the length of your chapters and sections, providing more frequent breaks in the material so readers have a logical place to pause and digest. Hemingway Editor is a wonderful, free tool that helps to eliminate the use of overly complex words and sentences, use of passive voice, and other writing “traps” that make text more difficult to absorb.
- Turn Text into Graphics
Use supporting visuals and graphics wherever possible to accompany or replace text-only content. Iconography allows you to present complex visual cues quickly while minimizing the amount of text needed. If you are outlining list-based information, try substituting pages of text with a simple-to-follow infographic to help increase retention.
- Consider its Use
How the book will be used should inform your production specifications. For example, if learners will need to write answers or take notes on the page, paper stocks and binding types matter. uncoated stocks are easier to write on. And coil binding lays flatter than saddle-stitch.
2. Incorporate Multiple Layers of Learning
Mastery requires repetition and reinforcement. Most of us retain information by having that same content presented multiple ways. Here are some ideas of how to do that within your training manual.
- Start each section or chapter with a quick overview of the key topics covered
- Use call-out boxes that provide additional context, such as a “Putting It Into Practice” example
- End each chapter with a chapter summary, highlighting the key takeaways
- Incorporate quizzes and reflection exercises throughout each section to foster immediate retention and application
- Create space for “brain breaks” or even doodling throughout your book to help learners refocus and refresh
3. Provide Direct Access to Supplemental Learning Materials
Extend the learning beyond your book. Include QR codes in your printed materials that link to AI tools and other resources designed to offer additional context and real-world applications, such as videos, podcasts, and virtual renderings.
As you evaluate the strategy and design of your training programs to facilitate better performance from your learners, it’s important to also examine your printed training materials. Be sure to incorporate a design that not only reflects the quality of your training content but supports your learning retention and application goals as well.