Think outside the box
The role of training developer requires a ‘think outside the box’ approach in order to make the training interactive, easily digestible and effective. This is especially the case when writing training manuals for developing countries where messages, examples and activities don’t translate in the same way. For example, when thinking about how a social enterprise can promote their brand through marketing, it would be redundant to use examples of businesses well known in the western world. Instead, it is useful to find out what brands and businesses people from rural communities will be familiar with, and base examples around those instead. In my experience, this is often fizzy drinks labels and sim card providers!
A training developer must also be aware of cultural differences when writing any manuals and be careful with how things are worded. A prime example, which I experienced during my time with WSV, is sexual health teaching. Petal, a social enterprise involving the making and selling of reusable sanitary towels, is marketed using menstrual health education which the entrepreneurs learn and then teach to others in their community. There are many myths and stigmas around menstruation which is something that training developer should be sensitive towards. Therefore, it is important to find a way to dispel these myths and promote the importance of this kind of health education for the empowerment of women.
6 Top Tips for developing training material:
1. Know your audience: Who will receive the training? Is the message translatable? Are there any cultural barriers that need to be crossed?
2. Keep it visual: A fun and exciting page will attract the reader and help them to remember the information.
3. Use interactive, energetic games frequently: The training manual contains games and activities that get the entrepreneurs up on their feet, role playing and even some friendly competition.
4. Don’t be afraid of leaving white space on a page: The more packed a page of the manual is, the less likely the entrepreneur will read it because it is overwhelming.
5. Create a good line of communication between you and the illustrator: The illustrator is a huge asset to you as a training developer because they are the ones who bring your ideas to life and make the manuals look exciting.
6. Do the activities yourself: Creating activities from scratch that need to reinforce a message can be challenging. I find it helpful to do the activity myself to make sure the instructions make sense and that it gets the message across clearly.