A global survey showed that the majority of respondents from different age groups believe learning is crucial to success in their careers. With many organizations adopting a hybrid work model, providing access to online materials has become essential to any training process.
If you want to learn how to create a training manual for your employees, co-workers, students or customers, this article is for you. You will learn the most straightforward and time-saving method for constructing easy-to-follow, visual online guides. Let’s dive in!
How to create a training manual with MagicHow
To create an effective training manual, follow these steps:
Define your goal and audience
Before creating a training manual, think of what you want your audience to know or be able to do after completing the training. Clearly define the skills, knowledge or competencies the manual should help participants acquire.
You should also consider your intended audience – who they are and how and where they will access your training document. To gain a better picture of whom you are writing for, answer the following questions about your audience:
- What is their motivation?
- How much time can they commit to the training?
- What industry do they represent?
- What is their level of expertise?
It will help you to create content tailored to their needs.
Create an outline
List everything you want to include in your manual and think of the best way to structure it. Decide in what order to present particular topics so the content has a logical flow.
You can take different approaches to organize your content, e.g., from the simplest to most advanced topics or arrange it in sections corresponding to a product's features.
It's a good idea to add a table of contents – it will help you to organize the content, and your readers will be able to search the manual for topics that interest them.
Choose process documentation software
The best way to swiftly outline the steps for a training manual is to use process documentation software that captures and documents all the steps you go through in a task and adds them to your training manual content.
Our recommendation is MagicHow – an intuitive and easy-to-use software application that allows you to create:
With it, you can create manuals for various purposes, such as:
Here's how to use the tool.
Choose how you want to use MagicHow. You can download the desktop version or add it as an extension to your browser. MagicHow is compatible with Chrome, Firefox, Edge and Safari.
Record the process
To create a training manual with MagicHow, all you have to do is start the in-app screen recorder. Then, go through the process you want to create a training manual for, and MagicHow will record everything, splitting it into logical steps.
Customize your manual
MagicHow offers plenty of customization options to modify the training material according to your liking. You can:
- Add steps’ titles and descriptions: Add extra information to the steps or title them to make the manual more transparent and attractive.
- Blur sensitive data: Protecting sensitive information on images in your training manual is essential. MagicHow allows you to blur confidential data such as personal information, passwords or proprietary content.
- Crop a picture: Remove any irrelevant or distracting elements from your screenshots.
- Add logos to your screenshots: Incorporate your organization's logo or branding to reinforce your brand identity and create a more professional appearance. This step can help establish a visual connection between the training materials and your organization.
- Change style: Ensure your training materials maintain a coherent and professional look throughout the manual. Consistency in style, including colors and fonts, can increase your training content’s visual appeal and readability.
- Replace or merge the slides: You may need to replace or merge slides to streamline the content. This step helps avoid redundancy and ensures the information has a logical flow.
To create effective training manuals, follow these process documentation best practices:
- Use actionable verbs: Make the instructions more direct and practical by clearly defining the actions your audience needs to take. Start each instruction with an actionable verb: click, type, review or analyze.
- Make it easy to skim: Use formatting techniques like headings, bullet points and numbered lists to make important points stand out. Provide a table of contents and index for easy reference.
- Keep it simple and concise: Ensure your language is straightforward and avoid jargon or technical terms that your audience may be unfamiliar with. Be concise and to the point. Avoid unnecessary expressions that can lead to confusion.
- Add examples and visuals: Supplement your training manuals with visual aids, such as diagrams, charts or images. It can help clarify complex concepts and help learners better understand the material.
- Explain why something is important: Help your audience understand the significance of the information or task they are learning. Explain how it relates to their job, the organization's goals or the broader context.
- Provide a glossary: Include a glossary of key terms and acronyms to assist learners in understanding and referencing unfamiliar words and abbreviations.
Share your manual
After ensuring that your training manual is well-written, it's time to make it accessible to your audience. MagicHow allows you to share the guide by:
- Using the link configuring access settings
- Exporting a manual in PDF
- Copying a guide as HTML or Markdown to post it on third-party websites
- Embedding a guide in Notion, Confluence, Zendesk, Webflow and other tools
Ask for feedback and update if needed
When your comprehensive training manual is ready, ask a few individuals representing your target audience to test it for clarity and usability. Their feedback can help identify areas for improvement.
Make the necessary updates and revisions to the training manual based on the feedback you received. Ensure the content is accurate, clear and aligned with the learners' needs.
Why is creating a training manual important?
Making an engaging training manual can provide many benefits for organizations, employees and learners. Here are some:
- Standardization of training: Training manuals ensure consistency in the delivery of information and adaptation of procedures. Every learner receives the same content and instructions. It is essential in the working environment since standardization of staff training leads to increased efficiency.
- Time and cost savings: According to reports, companies, on average, spent $1,071 on training per learner. Online employee training manuals can significantly reduce the time and cost of training as they provide a structured and self-paced learning resource.
- Improved employee onboarding: Training manuals play a crucial role in onboarding new employees. They provide guidance and information on policies, procedures and workflows, leading to increased worker knowledge and reduced number of mistakes. A strong onboarding process is vital since it can help you retain top talent.
- Enhanced employee experience: Providing well-structured training materials can improve the overall employee experience. 77% of employees admit they feel more productive and empowered when they can access clear, easy-to-follow guidance.
- Improved employee collaboration: Manuals outline standardized processes and guidelines, ensuring that everyone follows the same steps, for example, when implementing new tools or adopting new procedures. This consistency reduces confusion and errors, which can be particularly beneficial in team-based projects where tasks are interdependent.
- Risk mitigation: An employee training manual can include compliance and risk management guidelines. By following them, team members reduce the risk of errors or non-compliance, which can significantly impact collaborative projects.
Following the steps outlined in this guide, you can create a comprehensive training manual in no time. MagicHow is a user-friendly SOP tool with plenty of customization options. It is compatible with third-party apps like Zendesk, Confluence or Notion.
Sign up and start creating comprehensive training manuals today.