Re: Differences between Training guide vs User's Guide

Subject: Re: Differences between Training guide vs User's Guide
From: doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 18 Aug 2005 14:39:20 -0700

On Wednesday 17 August 2005 03:43, Daniel Ng wrote:

> The issue is what are the key differences that a training guide should
> offer. Nowadays, I am unsure if I have even worded the topics correctly
> now, unlike when I was writing the User's Guide.
> Training Guide for XXX Personnel
> Course 1: Managing human resources
> -Managing factories
> -Managing departments
> -Managing production groups
> -Managing employees.
> Do I document every dialog/field/ screen, or am I focused on user
> interaction flow alone.

Training design is driven by objectives and the audience. If you document and
attempt to train the class on all of the minute details as seen in screen
captures and text, will your audience be dedicated enough to study so much
detail? How much detail is necessary to accomplish specific training

The training writer needs knowledge of techniques in instructional design
(ID). A standard ID-inspired training is EXPLICITLY to the point about
training objectives and content:

First, tell the audience what you are going to do (training objectives). Then
do it (procedure). Then tell them what you have done (summarize). Apply
this little methodology to everything you do in training.

Training uses this technique to consolidate learning by eliminating
opportunities for misunderstanding. For example, start by giving an overview
of the learning objectives for the entire training--"Today we are going to
learn how to maintain the soldering robot. The instructor will describe and
discuss 20 critical inspection and adjustment procedures, and then you will
have the opportunity to practice. PAY ATTENTON TO THE INSTRUCTOR AND THE

Then you do the same over and over, giving an overview of the learning
objective for each procedure before you get into the procedure. After you
teach the procedure, summarize what you've done.

At the end of the training, summarize it all.

(Trainees in the classroom will take every opportunity to get lost and explore
on their own. Training material must be very well designed to identify each
page and each slide so that trainees can pick up the thread if/when they get

I would not get too hung up on whether or not to duplicate the content from
the User Guide--you'll increase the audience's stress level if they feel that
you've designed yet another unfamiliar view of the material, so re-using
content from the User Guide is perfectly alright. Training material can be a
literal re-use of the user manual content, merely re-purposed under the
rubric and methodology of instructional material. Or you can let the
instructor worry about all of the ID angles while using the User Manual as
the training content. A User Manual won't have much pedagogy built into it,
but a User Manual, designed and written with regard for ID, should be fine as
the classroom training content.

IMHO, users prefer to use the actual User Guide for training precisely because
the familiar material=less learning overhead, and especially because they'll
leave training with more expertise in the content and use of their primary
working manual. I believe this is true for educated IT audiences I have
trained, based on feedback. You can begin collecting feedback from your
audience to help you identify what works best for them.

Hope this helps,

Ned Bedinger
Ed Wordsmith Technical Communications


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Differences between Training guide vs User's Guide: From: Daniel Ng

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