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Training handouts


As part of the roll-out of a new work management system I am coordinating the training of around 200 people. When rolling out the pilot training, we produced some laminated "quick guides" for delegates which have been well received. However, some people of course will not find these useful at all. As I've been asked to provide an estimate of the cost of producing training materials upfront, and also because I don't want to be left with hundreds of unwanted and un-recyclable laminates (!!) I wondered what others' experience was of the percentage of delegates aren't interested in taking away training materials? We're hoping to provide online resources and other 'reminder' type stuff, so I'm purely wondering about the takeup of training materials. Thanks!

10 Responses

  1. Use of training materials

    Hi Wendy

    I don’t know what the percentage is that ever refers to the materials again, but I suspect it is low.

    One option is to produce 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?

    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.


  2. Training Handouts
    Hi Wendy,
    I am in agreemnt with Sue, I have large volumes of participants coming through sessions and have found that a few handouts and making the material available on the intranet has been most productive, interms of cutting down on preparation time, resource costs and it’s greener also.


  3. Training Handouts

    I would agree, most Universities now do not advise giving out any handouts and just making them accessible online.  I would advise 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.

    I find that most people attending training courses take their handouts if given to them but unless they are needed for another part of the course, probably put straight in the bin when they get back to their desks!  I know I have a habit of hording information and then throwing it out after a year of not having looked at it again.


  4. paperless hndouts

    For some time now I haven’t been using paper handouts – I put everything on CD which means I 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.


    I also put some of my (more or less) stand alone presentations up on for people who couldn’t make the session – you can see them at if you’re interested.



  5. Hand out or not to Hands out
    Hello Hello

    From experience and having gathered feedback from a number of different training events / progammes it would safe to say hand outs
    are always an area where we get challenged on when not providing alot / any… but never get postive feedback when we do.

    So if you are looking at having maximum impact… give hand outs that are relavent and in context but don’t go overboard


  6. email as well

    Apologies if this was implied by the other posts but on internal courses I often email the relevant 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.

    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.

    If you put a little effort into layout and branding etc the email becomes part of the whole package and certainly can add to the professionalism of the materials.

    For external courses (or where people don’t have access to the same central intranet) I collect email addresses on the course and send out the same stuff.

  7. Training guides

    Hi Wendy

    Good ideas above.

    Rather than be left with lots of unused items ask the delegates if they would find one useful then produce the number you want + a few more for those who see one and think, ‘that’s a good idea’ If they want one in the meantime point them to the on-line material.

    Base your estimate on a 100% take up but say that you will not produce any until you know the demand as it could prove more costly in the long run not just to your budget but also (play the ‘green’ card) the environment


  8. Handouts and other materials


    I’m not sure there is a one size fits all response to your question. We operate 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)

    As to budgeting for such materials, allow sufficient laminated copies for every person. This way if everyone takes their copy away you are covered. If some people leave them behind, just produce less next time so there is no waste and you come in under budget (ie get your laminating done in batches, not all upfront). If few take them away, stop doing laminates and just have them online.


  9. Handing out hand outs

    Big issue this one.  In an attempt to cut running costs for a free public event which my organisation offers, we have introduced an online registration form with compulsory completion of all fields particularly contact details such as address, email, landline, mobile, organisation.

    We have added a statement that we will charge £20 for registering without turning up or for people who turn up without registering.  

    For the first time over the years of holding this free public event nearly everyone who used our online registration form turned up and those who had registered but couldnt make it, called/emailed to say they wouldnt be joining us and we only had a few people turn up without registering.  

    As a result, and for the first time, we could accurately forecast attendance levels, nearly everyone took their handout with them and we did not overproduce handouts or refreshments.  

    Attendance levels for this event were not affected and if anything were higher than previous years.

    We were delighted with the eco-friendly effect of this strategy, the virtual elimination of waste and cost savings and as this system clearly works we’re keeping it.

    On the topic of laminates which are specifically mentioned in the question, I would be happier to avoid using this type of material because of the serious plastic pollution implications is an issue which is beginning to receive the full public attention it deserves.  


  10. Download is the way to go.

    Why not publish handouts as downloads from your website?

    Attendees that want the handout can visit your site thus driving up traffic and useage of your site.

    I always collect e-mail addresses from those that do – that way you have some statistics as to the value of your material. ABout 32% of attendees on our courses access our material in this way.

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