RE: Question - Training Guides - Who Writes?

Subject: RE: Question - Training Guides - Who Writes?
From: "Daniel Ng" <kjng -at- gprotechnologies -dot- com>
To: "'Margaret Alston'" <diamondvapor5 -at- yahoo -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 14 Sep 2009 11:50:06 +0800

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I know you'll do well in this new job, you've already got the skills.

We do the training and the help systems together. Depending on how you view
it, its a good thing - more control and power to make the changes you need.
Embrace it!


Training - if the system you are using is an enterprise-type of system which
has to be used by people in different departments (HR, Purchasing, Businss)
I doubt all of them will use the same set of features. 30% will be common,
50% will be unique.

Here's what you want to do different for training guides

Outline your training guides (with the procedures you've written)
- around roles (HR, Merchandizing, Accounts, Warehousing, etc)
- do some prep work with PowerPoint(some trainiers use powerpoint for
student notes and final presentation) if you have to (use the outline view)
80% of people will view this first, between a PDF and powerpoint- my bet is
they'll choose powerpoint first. Again role based structure.
- speak to the project implementers who deploy/train the users. and check
if they have existing notes they've written (I am guessing they've already
wrote/structured brief notes, FAQs for each user's job focus). to identify
the features they are supposed to use or features they need to be familiar
- also for training, be a bit media rich in the introductions, that means
make sure you have screenshots (illustrations) in at least the first 5 pages
of the training guides - its a bit of a reward. Candy for training always
- Sell your procedures, user assistance in the training curricula. i.e. how
to find help, etc.

Put a summary in the beginning - not at the end.

Training guides are essentially for an audience that says 'Help me learn the
system quickly so i can go home early, drop the kids off, and take music

Focus on compact,concise powerpoint slides if you have to. 80% of your
audience will see powerpoints instead of the fancy demos or the long

If you're a usability analyst this is 'persona' ing. I just call it user
identification. If you're marketing its called market identification.

If you have UML use case/analysis design documents for the system, have a
quick read through those. The use case diagrams usually will have an actor
(the user) and what they hope to accomplish with the system (Tasks) - that
should give you some structure. Here's a tip, you can skip the research, and
get the project implementers to develop the outline for each role if you
want to cheat a bit. Since they'll be using it in class anwyay. Cross-check
what they say with the Analysis Design docs. everybody forgets something.

- adds user
- updates employee
- manage employee transfer
- generate tax form XYZ

IT Administrators
- backup
- recovery
- unlocking user accounts
- optimizing performance
- data maintenance


If you have been single-sourcing, adopting topic based writing principles,
with Flare/Frame/RHelp/DocToHelp/AuthorIT - you take a bit of time to select
and choose topics for each guide. But this should make maintenance in future
easier. Do a bit of rewrite or padding for training guides. add an
introduction, learning objective, prerequisite, duration and a summary.

If not, do the powerpoint first. Paste concept explanations in the slide
notes. Save and publish.

Get a quick prototype of the training guides out quickly for review. Don't
bother too much with the introductions first.

Get the outlines and selection of tasks right for each role based training
guide, and you'll be 50% there already. Then choose the top 5 reports,
views, they need to be able to do. Emphasize, give lots and lots of
examples( or recommendations - always great for learning anything), package
up the guides in 15 pages or less if you can. If you have time, and want to
differentiate the training material a bit, spend some time on short
exercises, refine the training objectives. Sprinkle a few short 1 minute
demo videos with Camtasia/Mimic/Captivate/TurboDemo
Don't get stuck on these demo videos.

Priority checklist for training guides
1 Outline, outline, outline each trainnig guide
2 Powerpoint slides (25 or less)
3 Quick reference cards, then training guide books
4 Video demos

Training documents are about packaging your topics for the right audience.
Its a great way to help you know your audience better too! A great skill to
have. Its a bit of a skills upgrade exercise.


-----Original Message-----
From: Margaret Alston [mailto:diamondvapor5 -at- yahoo -dot- com]
Sent: Saturday, September 12, 2009 2:35 AM
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: Question - Training Guides - Who Writes?

Hi all:
At my last 3 jobs, the trainers themselves wrote the training guides and the
Documentation dept reviewed and prettied them up. At this job, I am told
that I am responsible for writing up all the procedures as well. I don't go
out and train, I can only just look at the software and write the routines,
which is fine but I don't know business processes and am not close to the
clients, obviously. I would think being close to the clients makes for more
'real" training.
Can anyone comment on this? What do you think is ideal? What are your
company experiences?


Free Software Documentation Project Web Cast: Covers developing Table of
Contents, Context IDs, and Index, as well as Doc-To-Help
2009 tips, tricks, and best practices.

Help & Manual 5: The complete help authoring tool for individual
authors and teams. Professional power, intuitive interface. Write
once, publish to 8 formats. Multi-user authoring and version control!

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Question - Training Guides - Who Writes?: From: Margaret Alston

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