Documentation

How to Develop Training Materials for Internal & External Training

Are you updating your training materials or designing new ones? Read on for a strategy for designing external and internal training content.

Introduction

You’re getting down to updating or developing your company’s own training program. What are the things you must know to save time while creating top-notch training resources? 

First off, you need to distinguish between the types of training materials and understand what learning format your audience will work best for your audience.

Next, you need to have a standard action plan to follow every time you update your training materials or create new ones. 

And lastly, you need to be able to measure your training program’s performance. Thus, you should define key performance indicators (KPIs) for each training module. 

In this guide, you’ll find all three topics covered. Read on to create training materials your audience loves.

Types of training materials

First things first. What are training materials?

Training materials are any kind of resource created to educate end-users. They can be split into two categories:

  • Internal training materials.
  • External training materials.

… which in their turn, are split into many more types of training materials.

Internal training materials

1. Employee handbooks: A comprehensive guide to policies and procedures that provide employees with details on the company's expectations and regulations.

2. Employee manuals: A comprehensive guide to employee rights, responsibilities and company policies on topics such as safety, attendance, dress code and performance.

3. Job descriptions: These provide employees with an overview of their roles and responsibilities and define the expectations of their performance.

4. Training videos: These videos provide an in-depth look at topics related to employee development and job performance.

5. Online training courses: These courses are designed to help employees learn and develop new skills in a self-paced environment.

6. Training workshops: These workshops provide hands-on training and allow employees to practice new skills in a collaborative environment. 

7. On-the-job training: This type of training allows employees to learn as they work and gives them the opportunity to develop their skills in a real-world environment.

External training materials

1. In-app education: This type of training includes interactive in-app workflows, tooltips and product tours.  It’s most effective for customer onboarding and new feature adoption.

2. Training manuals: These manuals provide employees with step-by-step instructions on how to use products and services and address any customer inquiries. Users can typically access them in a customer-facing knowledge base.

3. Training videos: These videos provide an in-depth look at topics related to customer service and sales, as well as how to use products and services. These are usually a part of your knowledge base.

4. Webinars: These are one-off instructor-led video sessions on specific topics.

5. Online training courses: These courses help your customers learn and develop new skills in a self-paced environment. HubSpot’s Academy is a good example of a branded online training course.

6. Training workshops: These workshops are designed to provide hands-on training and allow customers to practice new skills in a collaborative environment. This type of training is good for educating high-ticket clients and customers.

10 Reasons to provide training for employees & customers

Employee training benefits

Customer training benefits

A cost-effective strategy for building training materials

When you get down to developing a training program, whether for internal or external use, no wonder you get overwhelmed by the amount of work ahead. 

1. Identify the key goals & objectives of the training material

Take the time to clearly identify your learning objective. What skills, knowledge and attitudes you would like the learners to gain from the experience?

Try to be as specific as possible — the answer will help you understand what you need to develop and why you’re doing it. And the better you understand your purpose and the target audience, the more targeted and effective training materials you will create. 

2. Decide on the type of training materials

Once the learning objective has been identified, you can specify a type of training that works best for this purpose. 

To do so, it helps to break down the topic into several smaller modules and think of the future structure of the program. Will you manage to create training videos for each topic, or does it make sense to focus on text-based guides? You’ll be able to answer this question when you know what topics you’re going to cover and how deep you want to dive with your content.

It’s also good to talk to your employees — if you work on internal training materials — to discover their preferred learning styles and choose the type of training content accordingly. 

3. Gather the resources needed to create the training materials 

You don’t have to start from scratch. It’s very likely you already have a bunch of relevant resources, like videos, articles and visuals, that you can repurpose for your training program. 

Make a list of blogs and knowledge base resources that you published earlier and think of where they could fit in your training materials. For example, if you want to produce a video course, you can use your older blog posts to create scripts for your videos.

4. Automate the process with documentation tools

When possible, automate the process by using tools like Scribe. This process documentation tool will follow any online process and create step-by-step guides, complete with screenshots and captions, saving you hours of work.

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With Scribe, you can create customer and employee onboarding materials, document new standard operating procedures (SOPs) or create troubleshooting guides in seconds. All you need is to turn on the extension and perform the desired action, and Scribe will document the process for you.

Here's how!

5. Test your training materials before the rollout

Share the resulting training materials with stakeholders, subject matter experts or a test audience sample to collect their feedback before the launch. By doing so, you’ll see if your content is intuitive enough and spot any discrepancies early.

6. Publish your training materials where the target audience can access them

You need a centralized knowledge hub where you can locate all your training materials. It can be an external or internal knowledge base, a company intranet or a learning management system (LMS). 

You can also use Scribe Pages to publish your training materials and manage all your Scribes from one place. 

7. Measure the effectiveness of your training materials

When you plan training for your organization or clients, you expect to gain tangible business outcomes. Therefore, it’s important to set the goals and KPIs before your training materials go live and start measuring the effectiveness of your initiative after end-users complete their education.

Below you’ll find examples of KPIs that you can use to measure the effectiveness of your training materials.

8. Continue to update your training program

Based on the intermediate results of your training efforts, you can pinpoint areas for improvement. You may need to add more detailed content or remove redundant modules, add more visuals or even change the type of training materials.

Luckily, it’s easy to update Scribes and Scribe Pages. Once you make edits to one Scribe, it will be updated across all Scribe Pages it’s embedded on.

Training material KPIs to measure your program effectiveness

Let’s split the training material KPIs by target audience.

Internal training KPIs

You need to measure internal training KPIs to see whether your training materials are worth the investment at all. 

Training experience satisfaction

You can always ask your employees about their experience with your training program. Training experience satisfaction uncovers how employees perceive training and development and gives you a better idea of how you could improve the learning experience if needed.

Score results

Run post-training tests to see how employees have perceived and remembered the content offered in the course. For instance, if the pass rates across the team or organization are too low, it may be an indicator of a poor training program.

Digital adoption

Employee training is often focused on adopting new business software. If you create training materials to drive digital adoption in your organization, you should definitely measure software adoption post-training to see whether you’ve reached your goal or not.

Employee satisfaction 

Internal training also helps to increase employee satisfaction and engagement. Measure your employee satisfaction pre-training and post-training with the help of employee surveys, questionnaires and one-on-ones.

Impact on employee performance 

It’s likely that you expect your new training materials to impact the employees’ performance. This can be determined by measuring changes in productivity, efficiency or product quality.

Return on investment (ROI)

This KPI measures the cost-efficiency of the training materials. You can calculate it by dividing the monetary outcomes of implementing or updating training by the costs invested in the initiative.

External training KPIs

Very few companies actively measure the effect of their external education programs and are able to tie these metrics to business outcomes. In fact, only 25 percent of businesses measure product adoption and around 30 percent of companies monitor customer retention to assess the impact of their external customer training materials. 

Yet around 90 percent of companies are planning to track critical training metrics to finally see the value of their education programs. Here are six customer training KPIs that you should measure to assess the impact of your training materials on your business.

Training completion rate

This KPI measures the level of engagement of the customers during training. You can determine it by looking at the number of questions asked, the amount of participation in activities and the feedback provided.

Product adoption

This metric helps to measure the rate at which customers are using the products and features that were taught during the training. It’s a good indicator of how effective the training materials were in teaching customers how to use the products/features. 

Training engagement

You should also track the level of learner engagement during training. You can measure it by looking at how learners ask questions, participate in activities and share feedback.

Customer retention

One of the biggest benefits of an external training program is increased customer retention. It’s best to track your customer retention before you introduce new training materials and after it. This way, you can see the real impact of customer education.

Customer satisfaction 

This KPI measures the overall satisfaction of the trainees with your product and the training materials. This can be determined through surveys or interviews. Similar to customer retention, you need to compare customer satisfaction levels pre-training and post-training to measure the impact of your training materials.

Cost efficiency

To justify the creation and maintenance of your training materials, you need to measure their cost-efficiency. You can calculate this metric by dividing the increased revenue by the cost of developing the training materials.

Summing up 

Whether you’re building an external or internal training program, the process is more or less similar. No matter what kind of training materials you work on, you should establish a consistent action plan and follow it whenever you need to make updates or create new resources from scratch.

Using automation tools to create training materials will save you hours of manual work. If you use Scribe, you can create engaging step-by-step guides for any digital process in seconds. You can share your Scribes through a team dashboard or create Sribe Pages to create complete training materials filled with different Scribes, captions, images and videos.