Training materials are a fundamental part of a successful training program. Without an effective training program, your business will have skills gaps, low employee engagement and performance issues.
In the past, training materials were solely created with tools Microsoft Word — just words on a screen. Boring, dull and easily forgettable. Today, we have training materials in many engaging formats that your employees can enjoy learning from to improve their performance.
In this guide, we'll review the best training material examples and how you can use them to build a successful training program that works best for your employees.
The importance of training materials
Effective training materials are crucial for any organization's success. They provide employees with the knowledge and skills necessary to perform job duties efficiently and competently, bringing the organization its desired results.
As the HR leader, you should make available appropriate training materials for each internal role within the company so that both new and existing employees receive consistent non-technical and technical training.
If this wasn't reason enough, high-quality training materials are also vital for specialized or external training.
Detailed training manuals and simulations of processes can significantly lower the cost of hiring outside consultants by providing an in-house training solution.
Other reasons why training materials are so important are:
- Helping business scale by creating consistency in processes and procedures.
- Defining roles and responsibilities so everyone can understand their tasks and what is expected of them.
- Enabling you to identify weak spots in your training program or a new hire.
- Improve employee performance by giving them a chance to expand their skills and increase productivity.
- Helping employees stay up-to-date with industry developments.
- Improving compliance with the organization's rules and governing regulations.
The most popular types of training materials
Some of the most commonly used training materials are:
- Procedure documents.
- Handouts and manuals.
- Training videos.
- Activity sheets or exercises.
- Forms and self-assessments.
5 Successful training material examples
Training materials can be used in various ways to deliver learning experiences, such as blended learning, e-learning, or self-paced learning, depending on your company's needs and the employees' preferences.
The following are examples of some proven successful training materials:
1. Instructor-led training materials
Instructor-led training typically occurs in a classroom setting where a trainer or instructor leads a group of learners through a series of lessons. The training is done through lectures, discussions, presentations, or demonstrations.
The training materials include PowerPoint presentations, handouts and lesson plans that provide information on a specific topic or skill.
You can also use Scribe to turn your digital processes into editable and shareable step-by-step guides, complete with visuals and instructions.
Think of it as the perfect process documentation tool to take the guesswork away by documenting each step for your staff.
Here's a Scribe in action:
And with Scribe Pages, you can combine these guides with video, images and more to create flawless, easy-to-update training documentation, manuals and templates.
Easy to see why Seth M. L. hails Scribe as "the best thing since sliced bread."
2. Online courses
An online course is a self-paced training material that allows individuals to learn at their speed. It contains different multimedia-rich materials that all connect to train learners on a topic. The training modules could have slides with texts, quizzes, interactions, or multimedia.
Online courses can onboard new employees who need the basics, delve deeper into specific subjects or industry-related skill sets, deliver compliance training, or simply as part of a continuous training program.
Additionally, if you have existing materials like PDFs, presentations or job aids, you can transform them into an online course for easy access to the internet.
3. Videos & webcasts
Videos and webcasts are similar to online courses or tutorials. The only difference is they're pre-recorded and may not be interactive. They can also be embedded in online courses, giving learners the option of flexible learning.
Videos can be used to introduce new concepts, demonstrate procedures, or show examples of best practices. With training videos, employees can easily follow along, especially if the instructor makes the content simple and fun.
Simulations or role-plays are designed to put learners in real-world scenarios, giving them hands-on practice. These simulations help them build their confidence and develop their skills without impacting relations with the client.
Simulations are best for training on sales, customer service, negotiations or any client-facing relations that require 1:1 interactions. They're also great for teaching technical skills, problem-solving and decision-making.
Flipbooks are essentially long-form eLearning resources created by converting traditional training materials such as PDFs, Word, and PowerPoint files into interactive eLearning courses.
Once uploaded to your learning management system (LMS), you can easily track employee progress and completion. This makes them highly effective training materials.
Flipbooks let you digitize and make your company's existing training documents easily accessible, which may have been underutilized in their original, boring format.
Some examples of materials that can be transformed into flipbooks include departmental policies, standard operating procedures, and step-by-step processes.
Other effective training materials, tailored to the desired skill development of employees, include:
- Job aids such as checklists and step-by-step guides are designed to provide quick and easy reference information. They're also great for helping learners remember key steps, procedures, or best practices.
- Assessments and quizzes for evaluating employees' understanding of a particular subject, proficiency or competence and measuring their progress. They're important for ensuring learners understand the material thoroughly before moving on to the next lesson.
- Workbooks are another type of training material that contains practice problems, solutions and empty sections for employees to fill up with their answers. They're great for analyzing how an employee thinks or solves a problem.
- Self-paced learning modules are independent study materials that employees can access at their own pace. It can contain a series of courses to help them improve their knowledge or learn a new skill.
How to build training materials & identify what works best for your audience
To build effective training materials, you must know how to capture your learner's attention and give them the information they can understand and remember easily. The materials also need to align with your business' goals.
Here's a step-by-step process for training material development that works best for your audience:
Step 1: Define the learning objective
Defining the objectives for each training material helps you ensure that you achieve the desired outcome. You have to be clear on what you want the learners to know or be able to do as a result of the training.
The answers to the following questions will guide you in establishing objectives for your training material:
- Who is my audience?
- What business goal is the training material related to?
- What skills gap am I trying to fill?
- What is the desired learning outcome?
- How will the learners maintain the knowledge?
Learning objectives help you understand what knowledge and skills area will be the focus of the training, choose the medium of content that fits your goals and understand what resources the instructor should use to help the learners understand better.
Note that your learning objectives must be specific, measurable and aligned with your organization's overall goals.
Step 2: Conduct a needs & existing training material assessment
This step involves identifying the knowledge and skills gaps of the learners and determining the best way to bridge those gaps through training. You'll also be getting to know the learning material that is currently available.
There's always a wealth of content in the organization's drive that could be a good starting point for developing new training material, so you don't have to build from scratch.
Conduct an up-to-date inventory of all existing content to save valuable time and resources and pinpoint training gaps. Also, ensure that you assess the quality of the existing material and identify ways to improve it if it's outside your organization's current standards.
Consider these factors when curating existing training material:
- Check if the existing materials have the necessary information.
- Check information accuracy and relevance.
- Determine if the content is interesting and engaging.
- Review if it received positive feedback from past learners.
- Identify scope for improvement, if necessary.
Step 3. Determine the content
Now it's time to figure out the learning content that needs to be in the training materials. This should be based on your objectives and needs assessment. And it may involve research, interviews with subject matter experts and reviewing the existing material we talked about previously.
After determining the content, your next move should be designing the materials to be engaging and effective for the learners. This may involve creating a lesson plan, developing slides for a presentation, or creating interactive exercises.
Step 4: Design the plan & outline for your training content
An outline provides a framework for creating a process. It makes it easier and organizes your information in the best way for your learners. It also helps you understand how everything fits together so you can see the big picture.
For instance, you can create a spreadsheet that documents all employee training programs and the related training materials for each.
Here's an idea of what it looks like:
It's also worth noting that different people have different learning styles. Some are visual learners; some prefer hands-on, while others learn best with guidance from an instructor. There is no right choice for every learner.
However, it's critical to consider the delivery method when designing your training plan and offer multiple delivery methods for your training materials. You can choose from the popular ones like:
- Video series.
- Live webinars.
- In-person training.
- Blended learning approach.
Step 5. Develop the training materials
With your plan and design in place, you can start developing your training materials. This involves writing text, creating images and possibly recording and creating a script for videos.
Creating training materials may be rewarding and enjoyable, but missing some necessary steps is easy. We recommend you leverage design technology and training software for a smooth content development process.
You can make use of the following tools:
- Training Video Software: These easy-to-use tools enable you to create, publish and share training videos and measure the rate of training and learning progress.
- Learning Management System (LMS): An LMS allows you to store, deliver and manage your training materials. You can also track your employees' learning progress through detailed reports and analytics.
- Content Authoring Tools: With an authoring tool, you can create different training materials examples, convert them to an eLearning format and publish them on your LMS. It could be in the form of online courses, video lessons, simulations and role-plays.
- Instructional Design Software: This helps in creating relevant and engaging instructional content. It can come in different formats like texts, presentations, podcasts, videos, etc.
Step 6: Review & get feedback
After developing your materials, the next step is to review and revise them to ensure they are accurate, complete and adequate. You must test the materials with a small group of learners and make revisions based on their feedback.
You can also bounce ideas off other instructors and team leaders and have them go through everything so you can know where to improve.
Step 7: Evaluate & make adjustments accordingly
Building training materials is not a one-time process. It needs to be monitored and evaluated continuously to ensure that it's successful and meets your training goals.
As a follow-up to the previous step, getting feedback is an excellent way to measure the ROI of your training materials. You can get their opinions or suggestions on your training materials.
You can also evaluate your training materials through the following:
- Employee learning: Do this through assessments to measure the knowledge gained from the training material.
- Post-training productivity: Observe your learners and figure out if they're applying the knowledge gained in their day-to-day work tasks.
- Business results: Go back to the learning objectives in the first step and analyze if the training results match with a rise in revenue, decrease in costs and improvement in employee productivity. Then make adjustments to the training materials accordingly.
Keep in mind that the process of building training materials is iterative, meaning that it could involve multiple loops of revisions and evaluations before the final product is ready for use.
Wrapping Up: Use these training material examples to influence your training program
There you have it — some training material examples and a guide to start building one for your organization.
Well-designed training material can lead to the success of your training programs, but you need to design them effectively. Get it right, and you'll boost your training ROI, have happier employees and check off your business goals.
Take your first step towards effective training. Sign up with Scribe.