Creating Great Training Content: The Complete Guide

Written By Emma Anderson
A photo of happy employees.

Mapping the Blueprint: The Foundations of Impactful Training Content Creation

Training content is the backbone of any organization’s learning and development strategy. From onboarding new hires to ensuring regulatory compliance, training materials equip employees with the knowledge and skills needed to perform their roles effectively. However, developing compelling corporate training material is no easy feat.

Many organizations struggle to create training materials that truly engage learners and deliver meaningful results for their employee training programs. Generic, one-size-fits-all content often fails to resonate with employees and address their diverse needs. Even with the proliferation of eLearning tools, producing learning material that inspires participation and drives business impact remains an elusive goal for many L&D teams.

In this guide, we’ll demystify the training content development process from start to finish. You’ll learn practical strategies and best practices for creating training materials that grab attention, spark engagement, and, most importantly, bring about real learning outcomes. We’ll provide tips on conducting training needs assessments, defining objectives, choosing delivery formats, developing content outlines, writing effective copy, and incorporating multimedia.

Whether you’re developing your organization’s first L&D program or looking to revamp existing training content, this guide will equip you with the know-how to develop training materials that motivate employees, fill skills gaps, align with business goals, and ultimately boost workplace performance. Read on to learn the secrets behind training content that inspires participation, boosts knowledge retention, and accelerates on-the-job learning.

The Training Material Development Process Step-by-Step

Conduct a Training Needs Analysis

Regardless of whether you’re redeveloping existing training materials or creating an entirely new training program, you need to conduct a thorough training needs analysis (TNA) before you can develop effective training content. This critical first step identifies the skills, knowledge, and competencies employees need to develop to excel in their roles.

There are several techniques to uncover training needs, including surveys, interviews with managers and employees, focus groups, job observation, performance reviews, and skills assessments. Surveys can gather input from a large population, while one-on-one interviews and focus groups provide more in-depth insights. Analyzing performance metrics and skills evaluations pinpoints proficiency gaps.

The goal is to gain a clear understanding of the business’ objectives and challenges, employees’ current capabilities, and desired employee behaviors and outputs. You can then align training initiatives with specific organizational and individual needs. For instance, a sales skills course can target closing rates, while leadership training builds management competencies.

Without clearly defined needs, training content risks being ineffective, overly broad, or mismatched to the organization’s priorities. Conducting a meticulous TNA ensures you develop the right training content that helps achieve business goals by addressing employees’ true knowledge and skill deficiencies.

Define Learning Objectives

Once you’ve identified training needs through a TNA, the next step is to define learning objectives. Learning objectives articulate what learners should be able to know or do after completing the training. In other words, they describe the desired outcomes.

Well-written learning objectives follow the S.M.A.R.T. framework. They are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Here are some examples:

  • Apply effective sales techniques to achieve a 10% increase in closing rates within three months.
  • Demonstrate proficiency using the customer service ticketing system by passing a skills assessment by the end of Q2.

By clarifying objectives upfront, you ensure training content focuses on actual needs and desired results. Learning objectives are a guiding compass, providing a clear roadmap for developing targeted, impactful training materials.

Determine Delivery Formats

With learning objectives defined, it’s time to determine the delivery formats for your training content. The possibilities are vast, from online courses to videos to job aids and more. Choosing the right formats depends on your goals, audience, content type, and resources.

Start by considering your learners’ needs and preferences. For example, field technicians may prefer training videos for quick troubleshooting tips, while senior leaders need longer online courses to develop strategic thinking. Analyze access considerations also – can employees dedicate focused time, or do they need bite-sized mobile content?

Next, factor in content suitability. Complex software may warrant interactive eLearning to provide step-by-step guidance. Compliance material can be broken into microlearning for easy consumption. Customer empathy skills necessitate role-playing in VR simulations. Match formats to content requirements.

Also, use variety – blending formats enhances engagement and caters to different learning styles. Research shows we remember 20% of what we read, 30% of what we see, but 90% of what we do. Use this science to pick complementary formats.

Finalize formats that align with objectives, resonate with learners, suit the content, provide flexibility, and drive retention. The delivery medium carries the message – optimize it for impact.

Create an Outline

Before you start creating training materials, invest time in developing a strong outline. A content outline serves as the framework, providing structure and sequencing for your training content.

Group related information into organized modules or units. Break complex topics into smaller chunks. Use chronological order for processes or order of importance for concepts. Sequence content logically to promote understanding.

Draft section headings to map out topic progression. List key points under each heading. Outline any case studies, examples, discussions, or activities. This creates a content inventory to see information gaps.

A clear outline facilitates dividing work when co-creating content. It also streamlines the storyboarding of eLearning courses.

With a solid outline, you can develop focused content that flows seamlessly. Learners receive structured information in digestible pieces. Don’t rush into creating content without thoughtful outlining first. A strong foundation leads to high-quality training materials.

Develop First Drafts

Now, it’s time to start drafting training content based on your outline. This stage involves synthesizing information into compelling copy and integrating multimedia elements.

Leverage authoring tools like Articulate Storyline to efficiently develop eLearning courses. Use PowerPoint to create presentations. Produce videos with software like Camtasia. These tools help accelerate the development process.

When writing copy, use simple, clear language. Define terms and avoid jargon. Use examples and stories to illustrate concepts. Break up long blocks of text with images, illustrations, charts, and videos. Apply principles of visual design and multimedia learning to engage users.

Incorporate existing training resources like documents, videos, and SME interviews to develop drafts faster. Ensure licensing allows content reuse. Synthesize and supplement with new material as needed.

Develop complete first drafts of all training content outlined. Multimedia-rich first drafts lay the groundwork for refinement later.

Review and Revise

The development process isn’t complete without comprehensive reviews and revisions before finalizing training materials.

Start by having subject matter experts evaluate content for technical accuracy and completeness. Does information fully address learning objectives? Are there any factual errors or omissions? Ask SMEs to suggest areas for improvement.

Next, have a sample group of learners pilot-test the materials. Gather feedback on clarity, relevance, engagement, visual appeal, level of detail, and more. Note any areas of confusion or boredom.

Now, refine the content to make improvements based on insights gleaned. Revise unclear sections. Add missed information. Boost interactivity. Refine visuals. Ensure content is stimulating and impactful.

While reviews require rework, they significantly elevate training quality. The more eyes scrutinizing your content, the better the outcome. Allow ample review time for refinements that enhance learning effectiveness.

Finalize Training Content

The finishing stretch involves final proofreading, formatting, branding, and conversion to delivery formats.

Scrutinize content for typos, grammar issues, and inconsistencies. Double-check accuracy and completeness. Format documents and presentations consistently. Apply organizational branding to elevate professionalism.

For instructor-led training, develop facilitator guides and participant handouts to enhance engagement. Handouts allow learners to take notes during sessions. Guides provide trainers with talking points, discussion cues, and activity instructions.

For performance support, create quick-reference job aids like user manuals, quick-start guides, and cheat sheets. These tools help reinforce learning post-training.

Ensure materials are mobile-friendly, accessible for disabilities, and meet compliance requirements. Convert print materials to digital formats as needed for eLearning deployment.

The final quality assurance checks polish your content and assets for seamless delivery across platforms. Don’t neglect the finishing touches that elevate training content from good to great. Now, seamlessly integrate materials into your learning management system or portal and get ready for learners to dive in.

Key Factors for Successful Training Content

Developing great training content takes more than just following the right process. You must incorporate elements that engage learners, promote comprehension and retention, and create an impactful learning experience. Here are ten essential factors that set successful training content apart.

Engaging Delivery

Captivate learners from the start with a compelling content presentation using stories, real-world examples, graphics, videos, and other creative delivery methods. Leverage the power of storytelling to connect on an emotional level. Use case studies and scenarios to illustrate concepts in relatable contexts. Embed videos to cater to visual learners. Infuse graphics, illustrations, and photos to add visual interest. Draw learners in with delivery formats that stimulate and inspire.


Promote active learning through discussions, practice exercises, games, assessments, simulations, and other interactive elements. Letting learners apply concepts cements understanding far better than passive information delivery. Embed knowledge checks and self-assessments for retrieval practice. Add gaming elements like points, levels, and leaderboards to increase participation. Interactivity keeps learners engaged and provides opportunities to synthesize learning.


Incorporate diverse media beyond text, such as video, audio, images, animation, and interactive elements. Our brains process information more easily when presented in multiple modalities that complement each other. Guide complex tasks with step-by-step video tutorials. Break up lengthy text with relevant images. Add audio narration for mobile microlearning. Cater to all learning styles with multimedia variety.


Ensure training content accommodates learners with disabilities through closed captioning, alt text, A/V transcripts, color contrast, keyboard navigation, and readable font sizes. Design responsively so content reflows across devices. Meet legal accessibility requirements and enable all learners to benefit from training materials.


Tailor content to specific audiences based on their experience levels, job roles, locations, interests, or other attributes. Segment content with options for learners to self-direct their learning pathways. Localize training with cultural references and examples for global audiences. Personalized, targeted content is more meaningful and drives better outcomes.


With increasingly remote, dispersed workforces, optimize content for mobile consumption so learners can learn on the go. Use formats suited for smaller screens, like microlearning and videos. Design responsive courses. Downloadable content also enables mobile offline access. Prioritize mobile-friendly formats and designs.

Modular Design

Break training content into small, self-contained segments rather than lengthy, linear courses. Modular designs provide flexibility to reuse, recombine, and reorganize content. Learners can complete segments as needed instead of all at once. Modular content also simplifies updates by swapping individual segments.

Clear Writing

Use simple, understandable language. Avoid jargon and define necessary terms. Break complex topics into easy-to-digest pieces. Use active voice and conversational language. Ensure readability at appropriate grade levels. Clear, concise writing prevents confusion and aids comprehension.

Appropriate Level

Don’t make content too basic or too advanced for learners’ needs. Conduct assessments to gauge proficiency levels first. Match content difficulty to the audience. Allow opportunities for advanced learners to dive deeper. Adapt the sophistication of concepts and activities to the experience of the intended audience.

Visual Appeal

Attractive visual design elevates training content presentation. Use pleasing color palettes, fonts, and layouts. Leave ample white space instead of congested text. Be consistent with branding, formatting, and style. Polished designs demonstrate quality and professionalism.

Creating Compelling Training Content

Developing impactful training content is a multifaceted process. It starts with conducting needs assessments to identify skills gaps and business objectives that inform the development of a targeted learning objective. Defining measurable learning objectives provides a roadmap for content creation that aligns training with desired outcomes. Careful consideration of delivery formats lays the groundwork for how you will present material to engage learners and accomplish the defined training goals.

Structuring information into an outline gives training content shape before drafting begins. Writing compelling copy, integrating multimedia, and developing supplemental resources brings training to life. An iterative process of expert reviews and learner testing polishes materials until they are primed for launch.

Throughout, incorporating research-backed elements like stories, interactivity, accessibility, personalization, and visual appeal differentiates good from great training content. These best practices boost participation, comprehension, and knowledge retention among learners.

When executed strategically, the training content development process yields materials that inform, inspire, and make a lasting impact. Employees gain the knowledge to excel in their roles. Organizations cultivate talent and reach goals.

Whether creating an eLearning course, product tutorial videos, online assessments, or any other training asset, follow the steps outlined here. Conduct the upfront analysis, maintain a sharp focus on goals, employ engaging delivery methods, and fix flaws through continual refinement.

By developing training content that grabs attention, imparts knowledge, and drives behavior change, you lift the potential of both individual employees and the organization as a whole. The effort to create quality training content pays dividends through enriched human capital and business performance.

2 thoughts on “Creating Great Training Content: The Complete Guide”

Comments are closed.