Finding itself at the center of highly publicized legal and political deliberations over fairness in testing, personnel credibility, and legal liability, the training department at a North American transit authority adopted a genre system that enabled the production of objective evidence of job competence, which was then used to make objective decisions about who passed and failed various training programs. The ongoing genre-structured activity of the department involved not only the regularization of organizational texts but also the regularization of social interaction mediated by those texts, which, while producing the types of interpretively stable documents required for successful public deliberation, led to a shift in authority and social relations within the department that instigated considerable resentment and loss of morale among many veteran instructors.
In a recent round of discussion on an American Society for Training and Development chat list, corporate trainers discussed the diverse skills they needed to do their jobs well. Requests for assistance and advice evidenced the trainers’ concerns about their writing skill levels. In my own position as a corporate trainer I found myself training in classrooms three days a week and writing the other two. Handling new projects meant not only training the participants but also developing the materials that would be used. At the same time, existing materials needed updates or corrections to remain current with policies, procedures, and technology. The reliability of such information professionally affected the training department to a large degree. Consequently, writing and updating training-related documentation became the primary responsibility of the training department. Our role as trainers had expanded to include information management.
You may think that because you're an expert, it will be easy for you to write training materials for your low-level user base. But it can be tough to think like a beginner. Use these tips to create appropriate instructions for newbies.
Technical writers can and should collaborate with trainers to offer customers a unified and cost-effective learning experience. Here are eight specific reasons why they should collaborate – and two why they cannot afford not to do it.