Re: Training materials--help? Long post follows.

Subject: Re: Training materials--help? Long post follows.
From: Mary Wise/MANUGISTICS <manu!manu -dot- com!Mary_Wise -at- UUNET -dot- UU -dot- NET>
Date: Wed, 12 Jul 1995 08:19:43 EDT

Janie's gonna write training manuals... Actually, I've been doing this now
for three years, after switching from documentation. Sympathy? I dunno, I
like it better, so maybe congrats!

Tips:

Analyze your audience (duh!). In addition, analyze what they already know and
what they need to know. The difference is the "knowledge gap," and that's what
your material must address.

Then, analyze the knowledge gap from a task perspective. In a training
environement, adults want to know what they have to do and how they have to do
it. Moreover, they want to know what's in it for them! Organize the task
information sequentially. Our training manuals use a process approach: we
cover the big picture first and provide a diagram (in our software, it follows
a Setup/Cycle format). Then, each section covers a segment of the diagram.

Determine how your material will be used: instructor-led training in a
classroom environment? self-paced instruction where users are on their own?
interactive? (I can't be much help there!)

If it's instructor-led training, you should (I would like to say must) also
develop an Instructor's Guide in addition to the user training manual. This
document contains all the information that the instructor needs to be
successful: when to use overheads, ideas for exercises, script for the
lesson...

Develop sound instructional objectives that contain:

-an action (what the user will be able to do): Type a letter.
-a condition (what are the circumstances?): Using MS Word, Version 6.0, type a
one-page letter.
-a standard (how well will the user be able to perform?): Using MS Word,
Version 6.0, type a one-page letter with fewer than three errors.

Use active, concrete verbs in your objectives: Describe, List, Explain,
Calculate, Assemble. You have to be able to observe the behavior. Not:
Understand, Realize, Comprehend, Know.

Resist the urge to write everything there is know. Write succinctly, clearly,
and actively (sound familiar?). Be sure to test for knowledge retention and
transfer: test items, controlled notetaking (strategic blanks to fill in),
on-line exercises, review sections, summaries.

Format:

One that works for us is to use a two-page spread, with a graphic on the left
page and text on the right page. Be careful not to become a slave to this
format, however.

Books, etc.

Anything by Robert Mager, for example, the New Mager Six-Pack contains six
valuable books on training and objectives.
Developing Technical Training, by Ruth Colvin Clark.

Good luck!

Mary Wise
Mary_Wise -at- manu -dot- com

"See you in the next world, and don't be late!"


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