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Seb Anthony

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IT Training Manuals


Our IT Training Team are responsible for the training of staff on Housing and Finance systems, which are both subject to constant upgrades and changes. We have found that delegates like to have a manual to refer to, but the problem is that they too often become out of date. We have online locations where we can store up-to-date copies, but delegates aren't always comfortable with this (and sometimes just go ahead and print them off anyway!) so we are tending to print off the latest copies of the manuals at the moment for training sessions, and delegates take them away. I am not sure how much they even refer to them after the courses.

The question I have really, is what is the best way around this? We have been thinking of offering leaflets containing key information (the information least likely to change perhaps) which people may be more likely to refer to anyway. I'd just be grateful for opinions from anyone who has faced any similar issues...

Thank you,
Marie Leadbetter

3 Responses

  1. Save paper
    I would recommend that you stop issuing copies of the manuals at the time of the training course and let the attendees know where they can find the up to date copies on your intranet. This way everyone will have access to the latest version and you will save an enormous amount of paper which no-one seems to read anyway.
    The idea of the quick reference guides is worth pursuing if people need a printed aide memoir and cheaper to update.

  2. alternative “gizzits”
    I had this issue with a client a few years ago where the perception was that delegates would want a manual (psychologically some people don’t feel thay’ve had their money’s worth unless they get a big book!).

    As you have identified,the issue was the constant updating, rendering any printed material dangerous after a short while.

    We provided a “stand up” (rather like the card year planner you used to get from every recruitment agency and office supplies provider) with the critical information on it as well as a mouse mat or a self-adhesive fluffy bug with the intranet address for the main help site.

    The former we printed ourselves on card and cost pennies and the latter cost about 50p each (none of them destroyed forests either).

    Both were extremely popular with the delegates when we explained WHY they weren’t getting a 2 kilo manual.


  3. Are the manuals fit for purpose?
    Key information sheets, crib sheets etc are all worth doing. But it might also be worth thinking about this from another angle.

    Are the online manuals fit for purpose?

    They are often large books which have been pdf’d without considering whether or not a downloadable package should be in a different format. They then get downloaded, printed, filed and forgotten.

    Perhaps if they were redesigned and rewritten into small self-contained “just-in-time” chunks then they could be kept as live, constantly updated web pages.

    If downloadable documents are preferred then they would be small sections that users could download only when then need specific reference for a particular task.




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