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Trainers’ Tips: Training handouts


Earlier this month Wendy posted in our Any Answers forum asking about the likely take-up of training handouts - do you find they are well received? Is is all a lot of effort to go to when half of them remain left in the training room? We got some great responses from the community...

Sue suggested producing one set of handouts for the size of the group, say 12, plus a few spares.

"Use the handouts as reference whilst participants are there and then ask them - would they like to take them away, or just use their own notes, or would they like a soft copy?" she says. "If the facility exists, keep the soft copy on the intranet so users can download and refer to it at any time and then take a printout if necessary."

Tina agreed adding that a few handouts are a good idea but by making the material available on the intranet saves time, resources and is better for the environment.

Jane also advised having a form for people to complete so that you can send them a hard copy if needed at the end of the exercise. "This would also allow you to follow up with a questionnaire on the course if you were wanting additional feedback."

Cathy has abandonned the handout altogether in favour of CDs so she can add additional support material really easily - like templates, useful web links etc. "Most participants take them - but any left over can be kept for next time or written over for a different course."

She has also put some of her stand alone presentations up on for people who couldn't make the session (see Cathy's examples at

Dave reminded members that if they are going to use handouts, keep it relevant, while pmiller emails his clients materials and links on the following day. "If the documents are in pdf format (or contain links to online materials) it won't unduly affect systems, servers etc and it serves as a reminder of the information you covered in the course as well as a prompt to review it again. Also if you're happy to be a contact point for post-course questions it serves as an easy way to give delegates your details."

Graham operates a mixed economy approach using different media for different purposes. As a rule of thumb:

1. Consummables - printed on paper, used on the day, often written on or creased; recycled at the end

2. Desk aids - laminated, issued and used on the course; taken away and used as required

3. Support reading and copies of visual aids - emailed beforehand if to be read in advance, otherwise issued loose on the day, or bundled into a handout booklet or folder; printed if to be read on the course and/or available online (or on CD)

4. Wider/deeper/background materials - available online; sometimes printed for learners' convienience eg if linked to a qualification and likely to be printed anyway (our repro printers are quicker, cheaper and more environmentally friendly than people using their own local printer)

Wendy-stern says that due to their compulsory online registration system, they can accurately forecast the number of attendees and therefore the number of handout required while Newtricksken is a big fan of downloads as it saves time, site traffic can be monitored and is far greener.

Thanks to all the members for their comments. If you want to add any other ideas, please feel free to comment on this article.


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