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Seb Anthony

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How to reduce training handouts?


Together with my colleague we run a Certifcated Management course. During this week of training the students are given a file which is used to collate a variety of handouts. These handouts consist of copies of powerpoint presentations, exercises and models of management that are used in the course. The result of this is an A4 ringbinder full of information that becomes a useful resource to our newly promoted managers.
We are looking at reducing this for a variety of reasons: ecologically more friendly, ease the strain on our admin department, lessen the amount of handouts the students have to deal with and lastly to reduce some of the vast amount of prep work required to produce the course. We want to achieve a balance of appropriate information and the need for taking copious notes. Our students do not have ready access to IT equipment during the course.
Phillip Blackmore

5 Responses

  1. Handouts or no handouts and the environment
    Hi Phillip

    You question to me is in several parts:
    Handouts – are they USED by the participants during the course – if yes you must provide them – if not they could be given as a set of files on a CDROM or give member access to a website where they can read them or download them

    If needed on the course have you optimised printing – double sided – A5 size etc? as PowerPoint slides are designed as visuals so can be shrunk considerably.

    One of the big questions you need to ask is what handouts and resources are NEEDED for this course? what are essential what are nice to haves. Unfortunately the reality is that the majority of people never look at the material after a course, so bare that in mind.

    Why give copies of slides? Memory retention is greater if people make their own notes, if you have a lot of slides – too much for them to write on their own – then you have too many slides!

    If the course is residential what about putting a ‘library’ of material together which participants can access throughout the week. The ‘library’ may contain 2-5 sets of materials but not enough for all.

    For me it is back to basics –
    what do I want them to have the handouts for?
    What is the purpose?
    Is it essential or desirable – what will happen if they do not have them?

    all the best

  2. other alternatives
    Mikes comments are all very valid, especially the question about the future use of the handouts by the delegates.
    Consider alternatives
    -credit card sized aide memoirs
    -bifold stand up cards
    -menu style cards
    -e-mails from you after the event
    -gizzits (a gift that sybolises a main message and is a usable reminder of the message on a daily basis)

  3. Reduction in handouts
    Hi Phillip
    I would agree with Mike re – putting the material onto a CD-ROM – professionally presented, this could be a USP for you/your company as not many training companies provide in this form. Clearly, any exercises/reference points required during the week need to be on paper. However perhaps 1 between 2 delegates could factor here to reduce the paper.

    If the delegates were all from one company, then you may be able to get the I.T. department to load them onto their intranet, or perhaps load them up onto your internet, with a password attached.

    I like the idea of emailing the handouts out to delegates and let them choose which ones they want to print out.
    Hope that helps.
    Happy Days!

  4. Reducing handouts
    I agree with the others. Put background, reference and longer material on a CD or, as we do, on a dedicated web site. Issue on the day only those things that are necessary. Think sustainability and people’s ability to carry things when they leave as well as cost.
    But remember to think about visual access and DDA, and just good customer service. Have copies of visual aids available if anyone needs them. Print handouts in a san serif font – 12 point is recommended by RNIB but many organisations use 11pt.

  5. reducing training notes
    If you really want to be innovative and save the environment – CD’s are great in some ways but take a lot of energy to produce & distroy.

    What about having them put on to USB memory sticks – you can have the files stored as read only & not deletable and leave free space – this way delegates can carry them around with them and they have a valuable tool to use as well 🙂


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