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A Practical Guide to Choosing the Right Training Manual Software

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Are you looking for ways to create training manuals easily but don’t know where to start? But you are unsure whether you really need a training manual software? And if you do, then how are you supposed to find the one that is right for you?

Creating training manuals can be tough, especially if you don’t know where to start. In this article, we’ll guide you through the decision-making process so that you can find the right software for your needs. Whether you’re just getting started with training manuals or looking for ways to improve your process, read on!

What is training manual software and what are its benefits?

In short, training manual software refers to tools that help you create and manage training materials. This includes two basic forms:

  1. Authoring tools for actually creating the material.
  2. Platforms for storing and distributing the learning material.

More complex solutions may include both of these forms in one. But there is a wide variety of great tools specialized for either creation or distribution which are of high value to their users. All tools, no matter their focus, serve the purpose of getting employees up-to-speed with company work. Company work includes specific tasks, general values, or a instructions for certain role in the team.

There are many advantages of using training manual software. The benefits will differ depending on the software that best meets the needs of your company. (More on how to find a suitable software below.)

Some general benefits of having a tool to create employee training manuals instead of doing it without help are:

Benefit 1: Saving Time

Perhaps the biggest benefit of using software is the time you save when creating and managing training materials. Instead of deliberating on what needs to be included in the training, spending hours drafting, writing, and testing – just spare yourself the hassle and use a software solution to produce results that are likely more effective and appealing to trainees. 

Benefit 2: Ensuring Quality of Training Materials

Training manual software also helps you improve the quality of your training materials by providing templates and tools that make it easy to create high-quality documents and other training resources. Quality should not be underestimated as one factor that makes training more accessible and thus effective. Put yourself in the shoes of a trainee: would you rather read a 50-page-manifesto or have an interactive training environment and detailed, visualized process instruction?

Benefit 3: Foster Collaboration among your team

Finally, training manual software can help you collaborate with others on your training materials, which can be helpful if you’re working with a team. Especially if you are documenting specific processes you will want to have experts for each process capture them to teach newcomers how a process is done according to the highest standards.

How to choose the best training manual software for your needs

As you can tell by all these benefits, a training manual software is a great tool to have when creating training manuals. But there are many different solutions out there that can be used to create and distribute training manuals, so how do you know which one is right for you?

Consider the following aspects when choosing a software solution.

What needs does your training manual software have to satisfy?

The first thing you need to consider is what your company’s needs are. This includes asking whether you need a tool to create instructions, one to distribute them, or both?

Accordingly, you will be looking for authoring tools, knowledge management systems, or e-learning solutions respectively.

Also consider whether you want slim, specialized solutions or complex, comprehensive programmes? Yes, an all-inclusive, interactive training regime seems professional but do consider whether it actually fits your needs. Extensive training makes sense in some situations but in others you simply want to get employees up-to-speed with tasks ASAP. Here, a slim solution to show employees exactly what to do for a given task is much more valuable to you.

Who creates employee training manuals?

This might not be so self-evident as the first aspect but being aware of who you want to create your training manuals has big implications on the software to choose.

Complex solutions often require specialized authors to create the training materials.

Simpler solutions are more accessible to more people without specific IT skills.

Once again, ask yourself what your priorities are: creating didactic, comprehensive training material (in this case, you likely need an expert) or creating process instructions for people to use as reference when doing a task.

In the latter case, you will want to have people that are most familiar with the process create the instructions. But familiarity with a process alone does not make you a training expert and vice versa. And being a training expert does not mean you can easily document processes. A leaner solution often has a lower adoption hurdle, meaning more people can use it easily, even without much training. 

Making the right decision here certainly is a balancing act and one that you should think through with great care before investing in a tool.

What does your existing software infrastructure look like?

Another important consideration is what platforms the training manual software is compatible with. Does your company already use a learning management solution (LMS), a knowledge base or wiki software? Great, then you might want to choose and additional authoring tool for training manuals. It should at the very minimum be compatible with your existing software. Ideally, the authoring tool should have an integration with the knowledge base or wiki, so any inter-software friction can be reduced.

For example: if your authoring tool only creates SCORM training manuals but your knowledge base doesn’t support it? Not a good fit then.

Vice versa, if you have an authoring tool but are looking for a knowledge base, make sure that the export formats of your tool are compatible with or directly integrated into your knowledge base. 

Even if you are building your training infrastructure from the ground up, make sure that the tools you choose have a high degree of compatibility.

How much should your training manual software cost?

Of course, there is no straightforward answer to this. More complex systems will likely cost more, as they offer a high variety of features. However, there are many affordable options available, so you shouldn’t have to break the bank in order to find a program that fits your needs. Once again, while robust training software has benefits, unless you have good reasons to purchase such complex software, stick to the principle that less is more.

What are four popular training manual software solutions?

Having considered these factors, you should now be able to better navigate the sea of training manual software. To give you some more practical advice, we have gathered some of the best tools that fulfill different training needs.

1. FlowShare for automated, precise step-by-step instructions

FlowShare interface with text about creating simple step-by-step instructions
FlowShare Create detailed step by step guides as you perform your tasks

At FlowShare, when we say “less is more” we really mean it. We are convinced that the best way to train employees is to give them precise, detailed step-by-step instructions that guide them through their tasks.

FlowShare’s features are carefully assessed according to their use and contribution to creating simple and insightful manuals. No unnecessary features means you only pay for the things you really use!

FlowShare is ideal when you want any employee in your company to be able to create training manuals with little effort. The software is intuitive to use and allows you to document tasks while you perform them – in any application! It runs in the background, captures every click made in the form of a screenshot, and merges the screenshots into lean instructions. Descriptions for each action are generated automatically but can always, as other elements in the guide be edited and annotated retrospectively.

The result: accessible, professionally designed guides, created in no time!

FlowShare is not your classic authoring tool (those are often more complex) but it gets the job done. Its tracking engine can operate in any application and the finished guides are highly compatible with knowledge bases and eLearning systems thanks to multiple export formats (including SCORM and xAPI) and direct integrations with a number of tools. Thanks to our 14-day free trial, you can create an unlimited number of guides and try out every last feature of FlowShare before deciding whether the tool is right for you.

Create an unlimited number of guides, free for 7 days.

No restrictions, no obligations, no credit card needed. Only pay if you love it after your trial.  

2. Trainual for mainstreaming your SOPs

Trainual website interface
<em>Trainual Website<em>

Trainual is a tool to turn your best-practices into standard operating procedures (SOP). It allows you to streamline your processes, train employees, and assign responsibilities. While with FlowShare you can create detailed step-by-step guides of how to perform certain tasks within processes, Trainual allows you to outline longer processes at a higher level of abstraction.

With Trainual you can outline entire procedures and provide different training content at each step. Through organizational charts you can assign roles and responsibilities, increasing transparency and accountability. Most importantly you are making all the training manuals accessible at a glance. In short: with Trainual you can create strategic training and processes in which everyone knows their place.

Another advantage of Trainual are its many integrations with applications your business is likely already using, which makes it a suitable tool to add into your company at any point. There is an editor, however, you will still need to write down the processes manually.

You can try Trainual for free for 7 days, without any commitments, to see if the tool offers an approach to training that is right for your business.

3. ProProfs for comprehensive and context-sensitive training manuals

ProProfs Knowledge Base website interface
<em>ProProfs Knowledge Base Website<em>

ProProfs is a tool for creating internal and external knowledge bases that provide powerful training to employees or help to customers. With the help of the tool you can create customized, branded homepages to build comprehensive training and help.

ProProfs allows users to write extensive help to support employees on site. Visuals, such as images or videos, are easily integrated into pre-designed templates to make instructions particularly engaging for users. A variety of integrations also allows users to directly import data and documents from other applications. This makes the tool well-compatible with pre-existing software infrastructures. 

A special feature of ProProfs is the possibility to provide context-sensitive help. Through Tooltips, Light Boxes, and Pop-ups, the training manuals created with ProProfs make technical jargon more accessible. Plus, they provide additional help to understand the manual, and explain complex concepts in simpler terms. This feature creates strong advantages in terms of user-friendliness and accessibility.

To see for yourself if ProProf meets your needs, the provider offers a 15-day free trial period without financial commitments.

4. iSpring Suite for professional, interactive eLearning

iSpring Suite website interface
iSpring Website

iSpring Suite is an all-round authoring tool to create professional and interactive eLearning. The tool offers i.a. the creation of learning videos, voice-overs, and interactive training, such as quizzes and role-plays. From employee training, to compliance training, to micro-learning, the material created with the iSpring Suite meets many purposes. 

Usually, eLearning authoring tools require intensive training to adopt. iSpring Suite’s self-proclaimed ease of use implies that the authoring tool is more accessible than other eLearning authoring tools. Thousands of templates allow you to create a well-designed, engaging training program with no design or coding skills.

While iSpring also offers their own learning management system – iSpring Learn – the material created with iSpring Suite complies with all common eLearning standards. Standards include SCORM 1.2, SCORM 2004, AICC, cmi5, and xAPI. This means that material can also be integrated into any other eLearning system.

Like the other tools, iSpring Suite offers a free trial version: You can try the software free of charge for 7 days.

Key Takeaways

In this article, we have clarified the main benefits of using training manual software, which boil down to the possibility to save time, keep quality of training consistent, and enhance collaboration

There are countless tools out there to enhance your training manual creation and you are now familiar with some of them. Ultimately, choosing the one that is right for your business means carefully assessing your current situation. This includes being aware of your company’s needs:

  • Who you want to create the training manuals: expert created content or user generated content.
  • What your existing infrastructure looks like: do you need an authoring tool or an infrastructure tool?
  • How much money you are willing to spend. 

With the tools introduced, it is not necessarily an either-or decision. You can combine them to get the best result for your company.

If you already use wikis or knowledge bases and wish a fast way to create training manuals, we recommend taking a closer look at FlowShare.

FlowShare is the perfect tool for the instant creation of pragmatic training materials. It gets employees up-to-speed with their tasks almost immediately by providing exact instructions. Anyone can use it regardless of their technical skills, and you only pay for features you really need. 

Try for yourself and create your first training manual within minutes.

Create an unlimited number of guides, free for 7 days.

No restrictions, no obligations, no credit card needed. Only pay if you love it after your trial.  

FlowShare by miraminds has a 5,00 of 5 star rating 19 reviews on Google | FlowShare Software & Process Documentation Tool