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Tips for Creating and Printing Effective Training Manuals

Creating a Training Manual that is Effective and Cost Efficient is a goal of many Organizations

As a commercial printer, I have printed a wide variety of Training Manuals for all types of businesses and organizations.

These include Sales training manuals, Technical training manuals, Employee training manuals, Management training manuals, Safety training manuals and Customer Service training manuals.

Creating a training manual that is effective and cost efficient is a goal of many organizations. So, I wanted to provide some insight to those who design and/or purchase training manuals.

Ideas for Better Buying

In my experience, the content in training manuals tends to change fairly often as updates and new developments occur. So when possible, it is usually better to buy training manuals in smaller batches. Fortunately, the Print On-Demand (POD) concept allows you to digitally print training manuals in relatively short runs, which prevents you from being stuck with manuals having obsolete or outdated content.

Also, you'll generally save money if you design your training manual to print as a common size, like the standard 8.5" x 11". And if the training manual is to be used strictly for internal operations, the use of colored inks can often be minimized to save money. However, if the manual is being distributed to clients, the use of color is recommended because it gives a more professional and appealing appearance.

Holding it all Together

A training manual can be created with just about any binding style. The saddle-stitch and perfect binding methods generally offer the lowest cost, but in my opinion ringed binders and spiral/coil binding are better choices for training manuals.

Why? Because when the training manual is open, a ringed binder and spiral/coil binding allow the content to lie completely flat on a desk or table for easy referencing. This eliminates the distraction of needing to hold the manual open and lets the trainee focus on learning. This is a plus whether the trainee is in a classroom setting, sitting at a computer or need their hands free to perform other elements of the training.

Also, the ringed binder and spiral/coil binding methods work well with tabbed dividers. Dividers with printed tabs are the perfect complement to training manuals because they allow trainees to quickly locate a specific page or topic. Sometimes the tabs are printed in varying colors and/or coded numerically, which works particularly well in group training sessions where trainees are directed to various sections by an instructor.

Additional Benefits of a Ringed Binder

In addition to the aforementioned benefits, ringed binders are a good choice for creating training manuals because they offer the option of internal pockets. These come in handy to hold handouts or the trainees' notes. Sleeves for training aids, such as CDs and DVDs, can also be easily added to binders.

Plus, when it comes to adding or removing pages, a ringed binder has a tremendous advantage over other binding styles. Making changes is literally a "snap." This feature is particularly helpful for training manuals because, as I mentioned, the content often evolves over time.

Frequent content changes are why I recommend the page sets for a training binder be bought on an "as needed" (on demand) basis. For example, if your upcoming training seminar will have 70 attendees, then only order 70 page sets. Don't order 200 sets thinking you'll use them next time. Ordering too much just increases the likelihood you'll be stuck with outdated and unusable training material.

Even though I recommend the page sets for training binders be ordered and printed as needed, I still recommend buying the binder covers in bulk to get a better unit cost. The cover information usually doesn't change as frequently as the content.

Need assistance with creating and printing a training manual? Formax Printing Solutions can help with just about any type or style of training manual you may need. Give us a call when your next project arises.

Take care! Keith

About the Author

Keith Beaty is the owner of Formax Printing Solutions in St. Louis, MO. Formax provides a complete array of offset and digital printing services. Specialty areas include book printing, full-color printing, laminated printing, map printing, plus mailing services. If you ever have a printing question or project you would like to discuss, Keith is always happy to help. He can be reached at 866-367-6221. Keith and Formax have been providing worry-free printing and related services since 1985.

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