Writing Effective Training Material

I went to a talk today on Information Mapping® presented by Jennie Martins of Tactics. The approach she advocates has been around for 40+ years and is used to transform business or technical information in to effective documents, including training materials.

By definition Information Mapping® is a ‘systematic approach to analysing, organising and presenting written information, based on your audience’s needs and the purpose of the information’. The process was originally created by researcher, educator and entrepreneur Robert E. Horn in 1967, and is built around principles of how people think, learn, and process information. These days Horn is a distinguished visiting scholar at Stanford University.

Horn’s approach is in 3 distinct steps:

  1. Analysis – What is the purpose of the information? What effect should it achieve? Who is the audience and what are their needs?
  2. Organization – Structuring the information based on the analysis
  3. Presentation – Formatting the information visually

There are several unique tools during each step to break it down further to help create high quality content that delivers with clarity and impact. It’s all about taking a bunch of information and transforming it in to something that is easy for the audience to decipher, navigate and use.