Ask These 6 Questions For A Better Print and Fulfillment Quote

If you print, warehouse, and ship training manuals or other materials as part of your educational programs and plan to go out for bid for those services, include these six questions in your print and fulfillment estimate request to ensure you’re getting accurate, transparent pricing.

The process of selecting a new print and fulfillment vendor can be time-consuming, resource-intensive, and feel risky. Will a new partner really deliver on all that was promised? Will it be disruptive to your organization or your end-users? And will there be any hidden or unanticipated costs?

Most organizations provide a formal request for proposal or request for estimate to prospective print vendors to gather standardized and objective data to minimize uncertainties about costs and capabilities.

Where Print and Fulfillment Estimates Usually Fall Short

 The most logical place to start when requesting a quote is by providing all print and mailing specifications to prospective vendors, including print quantity, page count, paper type, size, etc.

With this information, print providers typically calculate a roll-up of total costs that may include:

  • Price break quantities
  • Per-piece cost, and
  • Estimated shipping costs based on a sample destination

While this roll-up of pricing is usually sufficient for a one-time or less frequent print run that is shipped all at once or in bulk, it does not provide the level of detail necessary to truly understand all annual costs to print, warehouse, and ship materials on an ongoing basis.

Six Costs That Should Be Included on Your Estimate

In addition to understanding the overall cost-per-piece for each title in your training library, you’ll want to be sure any print and fulfillment estimate clearly outlines the following:

  1. Average print cost per title and/or per course
  2. Average number of items in a package
  3. Average box weight
  4. Average orders per month
  5. Average cost per shipment
  6. Total cost per class/course and the annual cost per class/course

Including these six calculations on your estimate request forces your proposal writing team to include the right amount of detail in the RFP so prospective vendors can better understand your current processes, workflows, and requirements early on. This helps to ensure you find someone who is truly a best fit for your organization.

It also results in more accurate and transparent pricing because it helps to eliminate any assumptions that may be unknowingly included in the vendor’s calculations.

And by having this level of detail early on, the best prospective partners may be able provide new ideas that could save you money and create efficiencies.

Printed Training Materials: Design Tips For Learning Retention

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.
  • 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 You Pro
    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 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.

Apply Microlearning Concepts to Your Printed Course Materials

Microlearning uses short pieces of content to deliver education in smaller learning units. That content is typically in the form of  e-learning programs and other online content such as videos. But your printed training materials can also support your microlearning strategy.

The Importance of Microlearning

Microlearning is one of many tools in the professional development toolbox. It’s meant to help people achieve a specific outcome quickly through short content that focuses on a single subject.

Breaking up training content into smaller, more focused units helps to improve learning retention.  It also makes the content more convenient and accessible, which supports the concept of just-in-time training where learners access the exact information they need when they need it.

Microlearning is More Than Just An eLearning Strategy

Microlearning is typically delivered through eLearning platforms such as online modules, videos, quizzes, and games because of their convenience, accessibility and portability.  It’s not usually associated with printed materials, like course books and training manuals. These tools typically have longer chapters that introduce multiple, complex concepts.  But that’s starting to change.

More recently, organizations are recognizing the need to incorporate microlearning principles into their printed course materials as one way to improve learning outcomes. To do this, it requires a few simple design and layout modifications.

Four Ways to Format Printed Course Books for Microlearning

Turn one book into a series

Take a single course book and break it out into a branded series of separate pieces that each have a singular focus.  In doing this, you may have room to play with the format and add notetaking pages or other self-reflection and application exercises to make the content more personally relevant.

Keep sections short

Reduce the length of your chapters and sections. Providing more frequent breaks in the material gives readers an opportunity to pause and digest the material. And look for ways to turn long paragraphs into bulleted lists, making them easier to read.

Turn text into graphics

Look for ways to break up long sections of text with graphics that supply and reinforce the same information. For example, if you are outlining list-based information, try substituting pages of text with a simple-to-follow infographic.

Use QR codes to your advantage

It’s easy to blend print and digital educational content using QR codes. Add QR codes to specific pages that link to videos, quizzes, handouts, and other materials. This article, 3 Reasons to Use QR codes in Your Training Course provides additional ideas for using QR codes to enhance learning

If you are looking to incorporate microlearning practices into your existing continuing education programs, consider your printed materials. By making a few changes to the design and layout, you can break up longer content into smaller pieces to increase comprehension and retention.

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