It is notoriously difficult to keep people engaged during training. After all, courses ask people to soak up huge levels of information within a not so large time-frame. Therefore it’s important to have courseware that is as engaging as possible, so it doesn't make the mind wander. PDI does not write training but we do believe presentation matters.
Here are some pointers for you to consider during the design stage to keep your audience engaged.
1. It’s All In The Reading
For any training manual to be effective it needs to be easy on the eyes – Big headings, large fonts, and lots of scan-able content (the use of bold, italics, CAPITALS and underlining) are great ways to make sure your courseware is easy to read. This is even more important if your course is digital because tiny text on a small display can affect eye-sight over prolonged periods of time. The last thing you want is to make it even the slightest bit difficult for the reader - don't make it any harder than it should be.
For digital courseware remember colour is no longer more costly than black and white. So use colour extensively in digital files with diagrams and photos.
If your courseware is printed, simplicity is the key to engagement – important points need to be highlighted and headings need to be obvious. If you are branding your courseware, a good tip is to make headings your brand colour.
2. Make Use Of White Space
There is a place for white space on courseware, but too much of it and it’ll look like it doesn’t have much substance. You want to achieve an informative but simplistic look for your courseware, which can be picked up and digested almost immediately. The focal point of your courseware is the content, so make sure that it takes up enough space on a single page to get the point or lesson across. There is nothing more frustrating than having to flick between lots of pages just to discover what the takeaway is.
So, make use of white space and fill it. You could fill it with your regular course content, or interesting facts for the reader to digest.
3. Consider Materials
This point does not apply to digital courseware. If you have printed courseware, you need it to be of a good quality. There’s nothing more disheartening than a quality course being digested on standard A4 printer paper. To uphold the image of your brand and create an experience worth paying for, your courseware should be printed by a professional printing company.
It is not just the paper to consider, but also the binding. The Plastic comb bind look cheap and amateurish. The wiro is much more professional and has the advantage over say the perfect bound (paperback book binding) – in that it lays flat. The ringer binder allows for handouts to be given periodically during the course and added to the final manual.
Ultimately, the key to a successful course is for your content to be engaging and valuable. It must also be relevant to the buyer. Formatting is incredibly important also because the design of courseware will be what your customer notices first – for your brand to be recommended to others by your customer, you’re going to need to address both of these areas.