1. Identify the learning objectives
Learning objectives are precise statements of what learners will gain or accomplish by the end of a training program.
Identifying learning objectives is crucial as it sets the foundation for effective training. Clearly defined objectives provide a roadmap for both trainers and learners, ensuring focus and measurable outcomes. Clear objectives will also help you communicate the value of your course to your target audience.
To determine these objectives, consider the desired skills or knowledge participants should gain. Methods like surveys, assessments, and discussions with stakeholders help gather insights.
Ideally, your learning objectives should be to ensure that learners understand a particular topic and know how to apply them to real-life situations. For instance, you may create a course that teaches learners to use email finder tools for lead generation. When setting objectives, you want to focus on defining who the material is meant for. For instance, is it for workers who are already familiar with the basic concepts of your topic? Or, is it for employees who want to acquire more advanced skills? Highlight what learners will be able to do with what they learn from your learning materials. It’ll typically read like what we have in the examples below:
Your learning outcomes should be specific, highlighting exactly what you want the training material to achieve.
Some examples of learning objectives you can have include:
- Helping learners demonstrate proficiency in using a specific skill/tool to achieve a desired outcome.
- Helping learners gain a comprehensive understanding of a particular subject or topic.
- Helping learners understand how to analyze and solve specific problems using a particular methodology or tool.
You also want to determine how long the training will last. Be specific here. For instance, you could aim for the entire training to be completed within two weeks.
Note the importance of aligning objectives with overall training goals and ensuring they resonate with an employee’s need for a more impactful training experience.
2. Choose the right format
Selecting the appropriate format for learning materials is crucial for engagement and comprehension. When choosing formats for your training resources, consider the various learning preferences your employees may have.
These learning styles include auditory, kinesthetic, visual, and read/write preferences.
Auditory learners prefer to learn by hearing. Kinaesthetic learners learn best by doing things. They prefer hands-on activities like practicals, simulations, role-playing, and so on. Visual learners prefer to learn by seeing. So, they benefit more from pictures, training videos, and diagrams. Read/write learners prefer written content like textbooks, handouts, or notes.
The various types of training material formats include:
- Written training manuals which may include PDF documents, articles, templates, FAQs, and so on.
- Visual learning formats which can include videos, live webinars, or Slide decks.
- Audio learning: includes audio recordings, audiobooks, podcasts, and so on.
- Instructional materials like activity sheets, assessments, or simulations.
Each format has its strengths— for instance, audio caters to auditory learners, and templates suit kinaesthetic learners. Videos appeal to visual and auditory learners.
Always tailor materials to cater to the above preferences. That way, you can make your materials more effective. Overall, a blend of material formats might be beneficial to accommodate different learning styles within your company.
You can plan out the format of your training material using the pattern below:
When choosing a format, align it with the subject matter. Some concepts and topics are easier to teach with visuals. For instance, training that involves using specific tools would be better with a video tutorial. Compliance training on the other hand can work with writing content formats.
3. Organize content effectively
Organizing training content effectively enhances accessibility and creates a positive learning experience. Utilize tools like learning management systems (LMS) or content organization software—examples include Moodle or Google Classroom. With these platforms, you can create organized training modules.
Structure content with a logical flow, ensuring each material addresses a specific topic comprehensively. Emphasize in-depth exploration, and consider a chapter-by-chapter approach for a cohesive learning journey.
Best practices include providing clear navigation for users to go through your content. For instance, you can make a detailed outline or table of contents available to your employees. This can take a format like what’s highlighted below:
- Section One: Introduction
This is where you introduce the training program, highlight the course objectives, and tell participants what they will learn.
- Section Two: The manual guide
Here you dive into how to use the manual, explaining the basic terms and icons used.
- Section three: Defining the concept
You start getting into the concept. For instance, if the training is on onboarding new clients, you can define what client onboarding means in this section.
- Section four: How to apply the concept
Here you’ll provide step-by-step instructions for achieving specific goals or tasks. Highlight tools to be used and various aspects of the concept. So here, you could talk about how to use specific tools for onboarding new clients.
Going into further sessions, begin to explore the process some more, talking about challenges that learners may experience and how to deal with them.
In the concluding section, go over key learnings again and wrap up with actionable instructions for your participants. For example, give them a task or tell them to do a test run with a specific tool. Here’s what a course outline would look like:
To enhance the structure of your content you can take advantage of generative AI writing tools. With the right prompts, you’ll be able to align your content to match your learning objectives and ensure that they are well-organized. Here’s an example on Writer:
It’s advisable to organize your content intuitively, allowing learners to progress seamlessly through the material. Typically, this means starting from the simplest parts of your topic and moving on to more difficult areas. This way, you can create a more effective and enjoyable learning experience.
4. Use engaging visuals and multimedia
There’s a reason businesses have invested so much on including visuals in their content marketing campaigns. Whether it’s social media, email, or website content, you’ll always see businesses add engaging videos and images. That’s because multimedia can leave a lasting impression on users. Plus, visuals make it easier to demonstrate what the text is saying.
The same is true for the online learning industry. In fact, research shows that visual aids can improve learning by 400%. Incorporating interactive elements like engaging visuals and multimedia into learning materials can significantly enhance the learning experience.
Visual aids can cater to various learning styles, making the material more accessible.
Consider multimedia elements like interactive simulations or informative videos to provide an immersive learning environment. That’s what Hubspot Academy does in the example below:
Ensure visuals are relevant, directly supporting key learning points rather than being random. Utilize images, charts, and videos strategically to reinforce concepts visually.
You can also use gamified visuals like progress bars, credentials, or special badges to engage employees. For instance, as employees progress through the course, they can earn digital badges like what we have below. This is one unique way to add interest to your employee training programs.
Balancing the use of visuals and multimedia with content ensures a well-rounded and captivating educational experience.
5. Review and test your training materials
Reviewing and testing training materials is a critical step to ensure their effectiveness.
When reviewing, pay attention to clarity, accuracy, and consistency. Check for any language that might be confusing and verify the alignment of content with learning objectives.
Testing your training material may involve assessing materials with a sample audience to gather feedback. This process allows for refinement and improvement based on real-world usage.
The benefits of reviewing and testing include identifying areas for enhancement, ensuring content relevance, and enhancing overall instructional quality.
Finally, regular evaluations contribute to continuous improvement, making the training resources more impactful and beneficial for employees.
Well-designed training materials can boost the experience of learners. Creating effective training materials involves a thoughtful and strategic approach.
To recall, begin by identifying clear learning objectives. This provides a solid foundation for the training program. Tailor the format of materials to cater to diverse learning styles, recognizing the preferences of auditory, visual, kinesthetic, and read/write learners.
Organize content effectively to provide a seamless and enjoyable flow for your learners. Use engaging visuals and multimedia to reinforce key learning points.
Finally, commit to a thorough review and testing process. This helps to identify areas for improvement so you can maintain the effectiveness of the training documents.
By following these steps, you’ll be able to create comprehensive training materials that resonate with your employees.
This article has been written in collaboration with James Westfield, the Marketing Manager for Writer, an AI writing platform designed for teams. He has over 10 years of experience in the industry. When James isn't in the office, you can find him on the golf course.