12 Elements Of A Winning Employee Training Manual Template

12 Elements Of A Winning Employee Training Manual Template
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Summary: A good employee training manual template will be a great resource to your company; like an oil well that never runs dry, your company can utilize it for years and years in different forms and functions. It's worth spending the time to get it right.

Creating A Winning Employee Training Manual Template: Back To Basics

Training is an ongoing process. Employees don’t just learn at training sessions, they engage with tutorials, webinars, onscreen guidance, and microlearning apps. Throughout their careers, they continually expand their skills. In a sense, training has become more and more a process, rather than an event. However, training manuals are still the cornerstone when it comes to onboarding new employees. Once upon a time, they were a general reference for new hires to refer to. Now, they’re an integral part of the training process. Additionally, a training manual template can be extended, its content lending itself to videos and webinars.

Technology has changed the way we design our training programs and tailor them to our evolved learning habits. The best approach in developing a training manual template is to begin with a template which can serve as the foundation not just for your primary training manual, but for all of your company materials, including supplementary manuals and more specialized or niche training programs.

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How To Create A Default Training Manual Template

The key to creating a default template is to establish a powerful core that is flexible enough to serve different functions and still provide a personal user experience. A default eLearning template should include the following basic elements, each one having its own placeholder (preventing oversight and/or lack of integration):

1. Welcome Screen / Introduction.

The welcome screen should be minimal. The subject line must concisely  introduce the main purpose of the particular program, in a clear and attractive fashion. Think of a welcome screen for any new application which aims to onboard new users.

2. Instructions. 

The on-screen instructions are crucial, since they both give users their bearings and help them navigate through the different menus and options of the training program. Providing this feature at the beginning immediately empowers trainees to take matters into their own hands and personalize their training experience to match their individual learning styles.

3. Objectives.

Having equipped your users with the tools necessary to navigate through their training program, you can now present them with your objectives. Providing clearly defined goals and targets at the outset will help direct new employees as they move through the program,  facilitating their transition into their new roles.

4. Module Content. 

Now you are ready to get to the heart of the material. This content is the primary focus, which means it will probably vary the most from program to program. Remember that module content need not be static text. In fact, it's clear that using other forms of media (like videos and images) to deliver your content is extremely beneficial to the learning process.

5. Assessment (Quizzes)/ Survey.

The assessment aspect may or may not be integrated with the module content itself but you should consider it independently in order to decide on its form. It is a critical element, especially for training programs, since it helps determine the effectiveness of your program and further dictates how trainees apply what they have learned. This section may also include a survey and allow for user feedback in order to gauge success and shed light on how to make improvements.

6. Summary + Follow-Up Steps. 

The summary rehashes the main points of the module in a succinct fashion. Include follow-up steps, like offering users the ability to reinforce what they have already learned by reviewing previous modules or tapping into additional resources. Direct users to the next step of their training program.

Additional on-screen elements that enhance the user experience and aid in overseeing trainees’ activity include:

7. User Profile. 

A user profile engages the user and helps them establish an identity within the organization, potentially including performance measures. It can also incorporate graphics and a social media -like design.

8. Visual Progress Tracker. 

This is an on-screen feature that keeps track of trainees’ progress within a module or within the overall training course.  It's useful for tracking user progress and finding potential problem points.

9. Schedule (Timeline). 

Trainees organize their time and pace themselves.  It's easier than setting time tables that may not be feasible.

10. Ability To Pause/Stop/Resume Programs. 

As mentioned above, employees may have unpredictable schedules. Being able to complete the training module in a flexible way is an asset—if a user can't devote a three hour block to training, they may still be able to spend an hour here and an hour there, and that all adds up.

11. Help Menu. 

When users become confused, they are likely to stop the training process to search for answers. A built in help menu (possibly with on-screen guidance) is a great boon to the trainee. The time it takes to search for help or contract customer support is time that can never be recovered.

12. Related Resources (Supplementary Material). 

For trainees with followup questions, supplementary material such as a user forum can be a great place to learn more and go above and beyond with training.

3 Pre-Made Employee Training Manual Templates

There are a number of free templates available online, but most require a subscription in order to access them. Here are a few resources you can check out:

  • Microsoft Office offers some basic templates that are available for download through its website. Templates are added and updated regularly by the company and its online community.
  • Talent LMS provides a friendly cloud platform that can easily be utilized by any enterprise and incorporated as its own. Signing up is free, but there are different pricing plans for maintaining a subscription for cloud use.
  • eSheep Enterprises offers document templates for developing a training manual with user experience design. There are some free sample templates and you can also contact them for help on a specific project to help customize your own template

You can build on this strong foundation, a good employee training manual template, with context-sensitive technologies that provide additional guidance and instruction to your employees when they need it. Again, think of training as an event, not a process. Once you bring your employees up to speed, they can become more than proficient. With the right tools, they can be exceptional.