How to Develop Effective Training Material in 2023
Developing effective training programs is a significant part of an organization’s growth – and training material is the core element of a company’s learning and development (L&D) strategy. The success of your employee training programs depend on the efficiency of your training content.
If your learning material isn’t compelling and well-constructed, your training program loses its effectiveness. Training materials provide on-demand support to your employees, enable departmental functions in the absence of key employees, and deliver valuable information during new hire onboarding.
It is crucial for instructional design and L&D professionals to systematically analyze every course’s learning content to ensure that it adheres to the highest market standards and is aimed at trainees’ learning in a limited period of time. Careful planning and creativity in the design training materials phase helps build effective learning content, while also saving time and money on creating it.
Now that you’re aware of the importance of designing effective training material, let’s dive into how you can create well-constructed training materials for your employee training programs.
How to Design Training Materials for Your Employees
Here’s a checklist for you to follow to design training materials for your employee training programs:
1. Set Learning Objectives for Your Training Material
Learning objectives are central to designing a training course. These define what a learner is expected to know, understand, or do as a result of a training program. Here are some specific reasons as to why employee training objectives should be well thought through and clearly stated before you design training materials:
- Training material is planned, structured, and designed to achieve specific learning objectives.
- Learning objectives help understand what knowledge and skill areas will be the focus of the training.
- Learning objectives help choose the type or medium of content that is consistent with the goals – as well as the method of employee training.
- Objectives help understand what resources the trainer should use to help participants accomplish the learning objectives.
- Identifying outcomes is an effective way to review curriculum and content which leads to a more balanced and well-sequenced curriculum.
- Learning objectives are broken down into smaller action items to design training material.
2. Assign Ownership to the Right Team
To design training materials, different team members – such as the learning experience designer, project manager, instructional designer, graphic designer, video editor, developer, – all collaborate together to get the wheels spinning. All these members have specific duties assigned to them
- The learning experience designer understands every element of your training material and translates stakeholders’ expectations in a custom learning experience, ensuring the end product satisfies the requirements.
- The project manager facilitates the back-and-forth communication of action items, decisions, and deadlines.
- The scriptwriter synthesizes raw content into the required design format, be it video scripts, infographics, interactive eLearning, etc.
- Graphic designers create the visual display of information through visual design.
- Instructional designers create the course design and develop instructional materials, including various multimodal learning formats such as presentation materials, participant guides, handouts, etc.
- To create video training, you either need a video editing team or use a video training software to effortlessly create and publish visually engaging videos.
- A developer proficient with corporate LMS, SCORM authoring eLearning tools, or any other tools you are using to deliver training, handles the technical specifications and ensures error-free training delivery.
3. Audit & Curate Your Existing Training Material
There is always a wealth of training material sitting in an organization’s drive that is a great starting point to start designing training material. Curating existing material and presenting it in a new way, as opposed to designing from scratch, saves you a lot of time and effort. Think of it as a recycling, eco-friendly learning technique.
Be sure to assess the quality of existing material and look for ways to improve if it’s not up to your current learning standards
Here are some factors to consider for curating existing training content:
- Audit the existing training materials – presentations, documents, training manuals, specifications, and videos.
- Check if the existing materials are complete in terms of containing all the necessary content.
- Check if the information contained in the existing materials is still accurate.
- Check if the material is up to date.
- Determine if the training content is interesting and engaging.
- Check if it got positive feedback from the learners in the past.
- Figure out the scope for improvement.
4. Choose the Content Formats for Your Employee Training Curriculum
Different people prefer different learning styles – some are visual learners, some require hands-on experience, some need an instructor to guide them, and so on. There is no one option when it comes to selecting the training delivery method for your employees. The choice varies depending on employee learning styles, as well as other factors such as training objectives, goals, cost, timeline, etc.
Modern technology enables countless methods for delivering training materials. Some popular options include:
- eLearning: Also known as online learning or web-based training, eLearning is preferred for remote or hybrid employees as they can learn from the comfort of their homes. It is conducted via live webinars, learning management systems, digital adoption platforms, online course providers, and other online mediums that are available on-demand.
- On-the-Job Training: Teaching a new software application or process via interactive walkthroughs and guides that helps users navigate through different features and tasks within an application.
- Instructor-Led training: This face-to-face learning style mimics physical classroom spaces where an instructor uses powerpoint presentations to lead the training session.
- Video Training: Training videos enables employees to digest information in an easy-to-understand format that is easier to retain for a longer period of time.
5. Break Down Your Training into Segments or Learning Tracks
Different training programs focus on enhancing different skillsets for employees to improve their performance and productivity. Businesses conduct different types of employee training programs depending on the requirements and activities of an organization. Here is a list of the most common types of training programs:
- Orientation Training: Orientation training provides basic organizational information that new hires need to know to prepare them for their role, educates new hires, sets them up for success in their new role, addresses any questions they may have, and helps them contribute to the organization.
- Onboarding Training: New employee training helps get your new hires up to speed by learning their new responsibilities, familiarizes them with company culture, and helps them become productive team members quickly.
- Product Training: Product knowledge training includes all the information about your organization’s goods, service, or product that employees need to learn in order to perform their jobs effectively.
- Technical training: Technical training enables your workforce to build core technical skills and master the technical skillsets needed for their jobs.
- Sales Training: Designed to improve your sales team’s skills by teaching them sales techniques, software tools, and novel approaches to selling. Sales training programs focus on helping sales teams define the benefits of products and services, address client needs and get them one step closer to a purchase.
- Diversity Training: Create awareness for diversity-focused issues within the workplace with an aim to facilitate positive interactions and reduce prejudice and discrimination among employees.
6. Design the Outline for Your Training Content
Before instructional designers begin to design training materials for a particular course, an outline is developed to provide a framework for the process. A detailed outline makes the writing process easier and organizes your information in a way that best serves your trainees. Here’s an idea of what this outline looks like:
- Background and descriptive information
- Introduction (why was the course created)
- Background and scope
- Target audience
- Resources supporting the content, (e.g. citations, web links)
- Training policy
- Copyright and contact information
- Course planning forms and checklists
- Goals/learning objectives of the course
- Materials, equipment, and facility specifications
- Module overviews
- Scope and sequence guidelines
- Clear and complete course content
- Course outline including content, learning activities, directions, and timeframes.
- Presentation notes with support materials for each session (e.g. PowerPoint, overheads, and handouts)
- Teaching points for trainers
- Learning exercises (e.g. role plays, group discussions, case studies, brainstorming)
- Topic-specific questionnaires
- Participant handouts and other course material
- Accurate and appropriate technical content
Once you have your training goals, a content format, and a detailed outline, content development tools and technology can be leveraged to formulate and design training material.
7. Leverage Content Development and Design Technology
Employee training software is leveraged by organizations to deliver effective employee training experiences. These software tools allow you to create engaging training modules, ensure compliance and security, track employee engagement with the material, analyze performance, and gather feedback. They are all-in-one platforms to deliver highly-effective training to your workforce.
Here are other common learning and training software to include in your L&D content development stack:
- Digital adoption platform (DAP): A training software that integrates with your enterprise applications in order to help users learn while working on the application. DAP creates a contextual task list containing interactive walkthroughs, videos, and self-help menus for users to guide them through every aspect of an application. DAPs work hand-in-hand with learning management systems (LMSs) and eLearning software like xAPI and SCORM for you to create training modules, track learners’ progress, easily update content, and build more relevant content in the future.
- Learning Management System (LMS): A corporate LMS provides a framework that handles all aspects of your employee training – from creating to housing to delivering to tracking the training material. It helps L&D teams to identify and assess both individual and organizational learning goals, track progress towards meeting those goals, and collect data for supervising and improving the learning process.
- Video training software: Video training software allows you to create, publish, share, training videos as well as measure the rate of training and learning progression. Training videos are created to provide knowledge and education that can be used for employee video onboarding, compliance training, software education, etc. Video training software are easy-to-use tools that empower L&D teams or course makers to unleash their creativity and create instructional training videos efficiently.
- SCORM Authoring eLearning Tools: SCORM authoring tools allow you to create and manage SCORM-compliant courses and publish them to your LMS. The SCORM-compliant courses are compatible on a multitude of platforms without any adjustments, and empower training managers to track their learners’ activity, monitor progression, and measure training results easily.
- Instructional design software: Instructional design software is used by instructional designers to create impactful, accurate and relevant instructional content. This content may come in various formats, from texts and presentations to podcasts, videos, etc.
8. Create Final Draft and Share with Your L&D Team for Final Edits
Before launching the training course, be sure to send the newly designed material to your L&D teams for final suggestions and edits.
A checklist can be created to check the quality of the training material:
- Is the material capable of holding your learners’ attention?
- Does the material encourage recall and apply prior knowledge?
- Do the presentations convey information in an easy-to-understand manner?
- Does the material include examples, case studies, or graphics to add to the interactiveness of the content?
- Does the training material include ways for employees to apply what they’ve learned?
- Does the material expose learners to new scenarios and problems where they can apply the skills they’ve learned?
The final training material should only be released after incorporating this feedback from the L&D team.
9. Monitor Your Pre-Determined Training KPIs & Make Adjustments Accordingly
Designing training material is not a one time process – instead it needs to be continuously monitored and evaluated to determine if it is successful and is meeting your training goals.
The four areas to cover for measuring the ROI of training materials are:
- Employee feedback – Use post-training feedback surveys to get employee’s feedback on the training material and what their overall opinions or suggestions are.
- Employee learning – Use pre-and-post course assessments to determine what employees learned and measure knowledge gained from the training material.
- Employee post-training productivity – Observe your employees to figure out whether or not they’re using the new knowledge in their day-to-day tasks.
- Quantifiable business results – Go back to your learning objectives to analyze whether or not the goals were reached. Also analyze your training results by determining whether the training corresponds with a rise in revenue, a decrease in costs, changes in employee productivity, etc. Ultimately this is what will be the make-or-break of your training material and the key to budget for future ideas.
So there you have it. Your checklist to design training materials for your workforce. Well designed training materials will help your training programs succeed, leading to an increased training ROI, happier employees, and the attainment of key business goals.
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