We all remember the good times: perusing through the 80+ pages, glancing through the neat pictures of people smiling and pointing at things, and finally getting completely frustrated when we need to use it productively. Okay, maybe they’ve gotten a bad rap but the fact of the matter is that PDF handbooks have their place, and it’s not on the front lines of your training.


What happened?

We work with a lot of people in the training space and the one thing that seems to jump out the most is that training is changing.

It’s not you it’s me: As more and more millennials enter the workspace (75% of workforce by 2025) the ways that we teach things in business are changing. Millennials prefer more visual ways of learning, and just because we can throw an image in a document doesn’t make it a good visual medium.

What do I do with you? Documents can live in so many different places, Sharepoint, Dropbox/Box, Intranets etc. that it can get hard to keep versions straight. It takes me long enough, as it is, to find answers, and that’s without having to figure out if I’m on the current pdf version, so don’t let them be the only resource for learners.


What’s next?

There are a lot of other media that you can use to deliver training, whether it’s a quick process video, or getting some classroom time. You might be wondering: Should I get rid of text completely? No chance! At ilos we don’t think video is the end of text, we just think that each media has its place

Use text for a deeper dive in your training: Text is great for skimming through things or putting a great depth of content in one place. Rather than put those lengthy documents out to pasture, use them as a deeper dive. There are always people that will want to know more, and a pdf or text document can pack in a lot. Just don’t make it the first stop for all your learners. Try a trimmed down, visual overview to start, with a more detailed text doc to get into the nitty-gritty.

Use text with other media:  Add chapters to your video, embed content, or post links in your document to bring it to life. Give people the ability to leverage the benefits of text when they make sense.

All-in-all, just recognize that things are changing, but know that documents can still be pretty helpful as long as you make them complementary and not the first and only line of defense.


So, the next time the pdf handbook calls at least text back.