Creating training materials using single sourcing

Neil Woolley
by Neil Woolley

For instructor-led training to be effective and enduring, content is needed before, during and after the face-to-face session. In this article I’ll briefly discuss a project where we designed training materials using single sourcing.

In Creating role-based user guides using single sourcing, I discussed how we can reuse topics and books to organise and publish user guides. The same approach works for training materials by:

  • reusing content from the user guides
  • creating new training content and reusing it for multiple purposes and audiences.

Here’s a web page that links to training materials we created for a client.

Training page

Reusing content from user guides

Content developed for the policies and procedures was reused in the training materials. Here’s some text included in the leader’s guide notes, so the instructor can prepare and explain concepts.

ASN explanation

When we update the common content, the authoring tool recognises where it is reused. Then when we republish the user guides and training materials, the updated content is available to all audiences.

Reusing content within training materials

The training materials with common content are displayed in bold text:

  • leader’s guides to help instructors prepare for training sessions
  • participant’s workbooks to follow the slides, write notes and use after their session.

A slide is an example of content that is used in several places, such as the:

  • slide presentation itself (more on this shortly...)
  • leader’s guide – a graphic image of the slide prompts the instructor which:
    • slide they need to show
    • accompanying notes they use to explain the concepts.
  • participant’s workbook – a graphic image of the slide conveys key information.
Slide graphic

Not including the numerous slides, around 2,000 pages of content were written and organised into 80 leader’s guides and participant’s workbooks for this client’s project.

Developing slides without using PowerPoint

We can develop HTML slides in our authoring tool, without using Powerpoint. As described earlier, we can then share common content between slides, leader’s guides and participant’s workbooks. Here’s a sample of a slide in the web browser.

Slide graphic in web browser


Instructor-led training materials can reuse:

  • content from the original policies, procedures and SOPs
  • training-specific content throughout slides, leader’s guides and participant’s workbooks.

Our writers have delivered up to 2,000 pages of cohesive training materials effectively using single sourcing.

Next month I’ll discuss how we can reuse graphic images in different documents and outputs.

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