Training materials vrs user's guides/online help?

Subject: Training materials vrs user's guides/online help?
From: Geoff Hart <ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 29 Oct 2005 10:14:13 -0400

Nicole Bogdanovic wondered: <<What are the difference between training manuals and online help/user's guides? And what is the relationship between them? I'm trying to articulate this to my company (I'm the lone writer here) and have yet to come up with a great explanation.>>

Maybe you're trying too hard? <g> The difference is fairly obvious: a training guide supports training, and a user guide supports use. A person being trained doesn't know how to use the software, and thus needs to be given the basic tools they'll need in future to use the software successfully; a person using the software after training does know how to use it, but may need help remembering some of the more tricky concepts or discovering some concepts they didn't learn during training.

It really isn't much more complicated than that.

Design training manuals to help the trainer (or a student, in self-directed learning) develop a basic, intermediate, or advanced degree of self-sufficiency. Training manuals typically won't cover every possibility, nor should they; they must cover only the key concepts necessary for each level of mastery (basic to advanced) that you're trying to provide. Design user manuals to support that self-sufficiency once it is acquired. In contrast with training manuals, however, they must cover _every_ possibility because they must support both what the person has supposedly learned during training and what they have not yet learned.

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Geoff Hart ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca
(try geoffhart -at- mac -dot- com if you don't get a reply)
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Training Materials vrs User's Guides/Online Help: From: Nicole Bogdanovic

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