Important steps are critical to the success of well-written eTraining manuals. Miss one step, and what happens?
Well-written eTraining manuals are very similar to having well-built step ladders.
Well-written eTraining Manuals
So how do we get there? If you miss steps in your eTraining Manuals, they won’t be well-written, will they? The trainee will likely stop in his/her tracks and not know what to do next. Just like missing a step on a ladder, the student can get “hurt” because they won’t have the steps they need to learn the material and be able to do their job or project well.
But what about you? You will also be “hurt” because their production won’t be up to par which in turn harms your return on your investment in your people.
Well-written eTraining Manuals Need Strategy
So, how are you going to ensure that your manuals are well-written? We recommend using an eTraining strategy utilizing the PDCA Model. This is how Wikipedia explains it:
PDCA (plan–do–check–act or plan–do–check–adjust) is an iterative four-step management method used in business for the control and continual improvement of processes and products. It is also known as the Deming circle/cycle/wheel, the Shewhart cycle, the control circle/cycle, or plan–do–study–act (PDSA). Another version of this PDCA cycle is OPDCA. The added “O” stands for observation or as some versions say: “Observe the current condition.”
Well-written eTraining manuals take a great deal of thought. Why? A student or a trainee should be able to follow the steps, right? Therefore:
- Spelling, grammar and punctuation rules should be followed.
- They should be easy to follow and understand.
- There should be hand-holding guides along the way.
- Make sure your steps are not broken.
- Chronological steps should be used.
- Steps should be thought of as building blocks. Each step must support the next step.
- Above all else, each step must be proven to work.
You can’t just throw your etraining manual together and hope it flies. Plan it out. What are your goals. How are those goals going to be achieved? Will your eTraining be online, offline, or both?
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What format are you going to use? Will you use any of the following:
- Text documents
- Podcasts or
- Other materials
- Or maybe a combination of the above
Doing it doesn’t mean you can just write it up once and forget it. You need to constantly revise to make sure you have not left out anything, and you will always be adding notes to clarify a step. There is nothing worse than leaving something out (It can be as simple as “Click the Enter button showing in your window on your computer to save your work.” We actually had a person that sat looking at the computer for 15 minutes without doing anything. We finally went over and asked how she was doing. She responded, “It’s not doing anything.” She did not remember the verbal instruction to click the enter button. She was a person that had to have everything in writing. That was 15 minutes of lost production time.
After you have done your planning and doing and you think it is close to perfection, stop! Do not release it to new hires, trainees, or production departments/personnel before you test that it is accurate. One good way to do that is to take a friend or colleague and ask them to run through the eTraining steps to verify they can do it. If that person can’t run it all the way through without having to stop and ask you questions, you did not plan well enough, or you did not test it enough yourself.
Now ask yourself, how did things go? Did you meet your objectives when you planned your eTraining? Were there any snags that you encountered that you need to make sure to let others know about? Can you use any part of your process in future development for writing well-written eTraining manuals? Do not take a chance and subject your findings to memory. Write it down!
Borlok VA eTraining Manuals is the site you want if you are looking for learning how to develop eTraining guides that are easy to understand and follow.