Perhaps you've invested in computer training in the past, and your employees each have a hefty pile of messy manuals cluttering up their desks. Each time you walk by, the thought crosses your mind, do they ever even use them? Each one is a nagging reminder that perhaps manuals are not a totally necessary expenditure.
And when it comes to training costs, you may quickly discover that the courseware itself represents a significant chunk of your training dollars. In fact, using our training rates as a comparison, manuals cost about 12.5% of the total cost of the course per student.
A legitimate question is, should you invest in them, or are you just throwing your training dollars away? Let's look at some of the factors that will help you make a solid business decision.
Do Students Really Use Them?
The first, and most important question is, are the manuals really an integral part of the learning experience, and do students use them?
The answer, sadly, is a stunning "depends." On what? The importance of the manuals depends on:
In my over 15 years' experience as a computer trainer, I find that roughly 20% of students write notes in their manuals during a course. Think about what that means. If only 1 out of 5 students is even writing notes in the books, how many will actually refer to those manuals later?
The answer is, relatively few. That means a growing pile of useless manuals on each employee's desk, representing a significant chunk of your training dollars invested and, honestly, wasted.
What About Follow-Up Support?
Of course, if you decide to totally dispense with manuals altogether, a legitimate criticism is, what about follow-up support for when students have questions after the course?
There are many ways to address this:
Given the high cost of manuals these days, it can certainly make sense to forego them altogether for some of the alternatives discussed. However, be prepared to deal with student backlash, as many feel insecure without manuals. In the end, you may need to do your own research into how your people best learn and make a decision based on that.
Until next time, we'll solve our problems Bit by Bit.