How to Write a Training Manual

Most of us don’t think about how to write a training manual until we meet customers, co-workers, or students repeatedly asking the same questions. Still, you can’t appreciate the availability of a comprehensive training manual template more than after answering the same questions several times per day. Have you ever been in this situation? Even if you haven’t (yet), read these step-by-step instructions and use our training manual templates and a special-purpose tool to create an awesome training manual and never suffer from a lack of user documentation.

Training manuals are essential for any process related to training or onboarding – be it customer support, employee training, task delegation, new hire onboarding, or online learning. Once, I was working with three new employees who kept asking similar questions regularly – that is when I understood the true value of training and the onboarding process. That is why I have prepared this extremely useful article and training manual template for you – read on to find it!

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How to write a training manual to make an amateur a pro

A winning training manual takes the employee on a seamless journey from an understanding of training objectives right down to equipping the employee with the relevant skills to execute the task on hand. If you are writing a technical user guide or process documentation for e-learning purposes, or for archival in your organization’s server, a good training manual should be easy to understand, intuitive enough for the viewer to manoeuvre through and well sectioned for easy reference. According to the Association for Talent Development of the United States (ATD), 45% of learning hours in an average organization were developed via online or e-learning methods in 2017, and this is an increase of 41% vs. 2015.

Understanding how to write a training manual is an inherent skill necessary for the success and continuity of businesses. Read on to discover 5 steps on how to write a training manual and find a training manual template enclosed.

Step 1. Identify The Objectives of the Training Manual

It’s crucial to identify the objectives of the training program as this will set the tone and manner of the training manual and determine its success. According to a report by 24x7 Learning "Workspace Learning - 2015" only 11% of learners admitted to applying the skills learnt from training received to their job. This highlights the importance of ascertaining learner’s needs and mapping them against organization objectives for integration into the training program.


Some common training manual objectives include:

  • On-boarding of new employees and acclimatization to organizational job culture
  • Up-skilling existing employees with new skills required for their job
  • Improving soft skills an employee lacks to address gaps in a periodic performance review
  • Reducing the number of accidents by providing safety tips to workers
  • Changing employee attitudes and increasing productivity
  • Preparing employees for promotion by imparting advanced skill sets

Whichever objective your training manual strives to achieve, starting out by outlining the objectives will help you identify the successive important elements of the training program to create a cohesive flow.

Step 2. Identify the Target Audience

A training manual can be as effective as a trainer skilled in connecting with the target audience and making the learners understand the content. Whether you are an external or internal trainer, understanding the organization’s objectives, culture and target audience will help you adopt the right approach to deliver training materials. Write your training manual template keeping in mind the demographics and psychological behaviors of the learners, their backgrounds, their jobs, industry, and language proficiency. By understanding the subtle nuances of your target audience, you will avoid developing a training manual template with a low completion rate, or result in recurring on-the-job errors that the training manual failed to address.


Step 3. Select Tools

Now that you have identified your training objectives and target audience, it is time to select the necessary tools and develop your training materials. For this purpose, we strongly recommend using Stepsy. If you’re wondering how to write a training manual, this tool will help you create it with no hassle and minimal time expenditures. As usual, this software documentation tool is used to create training manuals, user guides, product manuals, help articles, and other docs designed to teach a user how to use a program or how to accomplish a procedure. Thus, ERP consultants, IT support managers, HR managers, small business owners and CEOs, and customer support agents frequently use Stepsy to create training manuals for their customers or coworkers.

Step 4. Develop Your Training Materials

While designing your training materials, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Introduce the objective of the training manual and what the audience can achieve at the end of the course.
  • Inform the audience that there will be an assessment and a minimum qualifying mark in order to pass the assessment. Failing which, a retake of the assessment is required until the qualifying mark is met.
  • Paint the step-by-step scenario or solution you would like to present. For example, if there has been a decrease in the performance rates caused by poor experience in software usage, a user guide, or an SOP can be used to demonstrate to trainees how to use the program.
  • Use a combination of text and visuals to break the monotony and increase the learners’ engagement.
  • Include problem-solving discussion topics to encourage interactivity and feedback from the learner.
  • Summarize the key points and recapitulate key learning at the end of each module to create reinforcement and instill long-term memory.
  • For process guides, provide step-by-step instrictions in a sequence that the actual user will go through. This clarity will minimize user frustration and free the trainer’s time from managing more follow-up queries from the learner post-training.
  • As a general rule of thumb, keep the learning experience up to 20 minutes maximum. Exceeding this duration will cause the learner’s attention to waiver and the learner will be more prone to fast forward through the training manual, causing the learner to fail the assessment or retake the assessment multiple times.
  • If face-to-face training is conducted, do not hesitate to trigger a follow-up online quiz after the training session to assess the individual learners’ knowledge and reinforce the information that was presented during the classroom session.

Step 5. Develop an Assessment Component

Having an assessment or quiz at the end of training is crucial as it provides a measurement of the training efficacy to the trainer and sets success benchmarks to the learner. Bear in mind that the assessment must not be too technical or mathematically challenging. A good and reasonable passing test score for e-learning is 80%, as this implies that the learner has a robust understanding that will allow the individual to operate in the desired manner.

Step 6. Get Feedback and Perform Usability Testing

Although you already know how to write a training manual, ensure that your training manual is proofread by another team member and another individual with your learner’s profile. By obtaining a fresh perspective, you will be able to single out typo errors and ensure that the content is accurate, clear and comprehensive. Do not forget to test the training on individuals who are like your learners. Usability test will allow you to identify system bugs that will otherwise be a blind spot.

Closing Thoughts

According to the Association for Talent Development, it is not surprising that companies who invest in training initiatives enjoy 24% higher profit margins than those who spend less. Furthermore, knowing how to write a training manual and an effective user guide helps organizations reduce operational errors, thus creating a positive client experience and expedited execution of new knowledge at a faster speed. In the existing increasingly competitive business environment, efficiency, a speed of delivery, and cost management will set you apart from the pack. This underscores the importance of documentation ninjas as a valuable asset to organizations, and with the right tool like StepShot Guides, anyone can become a documentation ninja.