RE: Trn'g Guides/Manuals vs User Guides/Man'ls

Subject: RE: Trn'g Guides/Manuals vs User Guides/Man'ls
From: "Thomas Quine" <quinet -at- home -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 1 Nov 2000 10:47:37 -0800

I produce a lot of both training manuals and user manuals.
There are a lot of differences, but the most significant is that training
manuals assume there is an instructor, coach, or facilitator in the room who
can help the learner.
With a user's manual, you must assume that the reader has no access to
anyone who can help. Therefore you must be doubly careful to include all
required information that will allow the reader to perform the entire task
from start to finish, even if they have no one to turn to.
I find a lot of instructional designers make very sloppy technical writers,
because they slap together a training manual, all the while saying to
themselves, "I'll just gloss over this part, cause the instructor will fill
in the gaps."
Other significant differences include the fact that training manuals usually
contain tests and exercises of some sort.
There is also a huge difference between creating a procedure for a learner
to walk through, in which you expect them to learn something, i.e. retain
some new skill, and writing a procedure that the reader may only want to do
once, and do correctly, and then forget about forever after. Training
manuals usually contain some "learning activities", whereas very few user's
manuals do - sometimes some tutorials, but not always.
Good luck!
- Thom

-----Original Message-----
Subject: Trn'g Guides/Manuals vs User Guides/Man'ls

How can I sum up in a few sentences the differences
between training guides and the general user guides?

I thought something like - Training guides include
less ref info (explaining buttons and functions etc.,
since you're likely to include that verbally in the
class) and more step by step with specific examples.
Regular user guides have more ref info and the step by
step tasks may or may not be real examples.

I am writing job descriptions and trying to find lines
of demarcation.



PS Many thanks to all for the answers to the
grammar/usage questions.

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