Training materials are a necessary part of any program or activity that involves knowledge acquisition and retention. The best approach to developing instructional materials is to start by examining the training plan and available resources. Depending on the learning objectives and length of the training program, training materials may include workbooks, training manuals, computer-based lessons and audio-visual aids. Here are a few strategies for developing training materials.
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Identify the objectives of the training program.
The goal may be to teach computer lab managers how to access and navigate various software programs. In a classroom of aspiring babysitters, the objective may be to help teenagers master the most critical aspects of caring for small children.
Develop a training plan.
A plan is an overview or outline of how training will be approached. It typically includes the training program schedule, key learning objectives and a list of the available resources.
Create a list of necessary training materials.
- Estimate how much time to spend on each learning objective. This will assist in the development of training materials and ensure that equal time is devoted to concepts of equal importance.
For example, participants in a software training program may need hands-on access to the software, screen shots of more complicated software elements, and a training manual that details software features in a step-by-step fashion.
Write an explanation of core skills to be learned.
This is an overview of what class participants can expect to learn after progressing through the training materials. In a class for babysitters, for example, delivering first aid, changing diapers, providing meals for children and handling emergencies may be the main objectives.
Dedicate a separate section to each learning objective.
For example, when creating an online module for babysitters, you would provide an entire chapter consisting of various first aid lessons.
Integrate visual elements.
- Create individual lessons. In a software training class, if the main objective is to teach occupational trainers how to navigate instructional software, each lesson might focus on a different objective. For example, one lesson might introduce learners to the goal of the occupational software. The next lesson might demonstrate the function of each navigational button. The following lesson might address how to run performance reports after students have completed assigned lessons.
Use graphics, videos, tables and other visual tools to reinforce important concepts.
Incorporate review exercises.
To accommodate various learning styles, integrate review exercises in various formats. For example, training materials may include true or false or multiple choice questions to reinforce content. After watching an instructional video, ask students to break up into small groups to discuss the content.
Establish an assessment component. If using videos or presentations to train students, assess students by asking learners to write down their impressions. When creating a training workbook, knowledge may be assessed through the use of quizzes.
Ask learners for feedback. Evaluate the effectiveness of the training materials by asking training program participants to share their opinions. Training material feedback forms could contain questions about organization, clarity, variety and usefulness, and may be used to revise and improve the materials.