Tip #108: Participant Materials

There are many options for organizing participant materials. I am going to share my own preferences and you can feel free to respond with your own.

First of all, I prefer to have all materials that the participants will need for a training session included in one participant packet. This means that the worksheets, exercises and the reference materials are in the same packet, rather than separated into different packets.

All of the pages are numbered and identified by document title in the table of contents. I like to ensure that the materials can be used later with ease of reference- and many participants have told me that they continue to refer to the materials for years.

In the table of contents, italicized print identifies the interactive exercises and regular print identifies the reference materials. This way I can easily annotate the table of contents as a quick reference lesson plan.

My computer mentor, Kathleen Cummings, has just taught me to number the participant pages so that the odd numbered pages have the number on the upper right header and the even numbered pages have the number on the upper left header. If you print your materials on both sides as I do, this makes it much easier to see the numbers. If you don’t handle the numbering in this fashion, then the numbers for half of the pages are generally under the staple! 🙂

I know that there are some trainers who prefer to print the participant materials only on one side, to provide sufficient room for them to take notes. I use 1 inch margins and ensure sufficient space on the worksheets to provide that room. Clearly, this choice and all of the other choices are entirely up to you.

The font style I prefer is Ariel, which is sans serif. At fourteen point for the text and eighteen point for the titles, it is very easy to read. Since my own sight is poor, that is very important! I like to include the title of the training program (and chapter titles, if applicable) in the header at 10 point, and my business name and copyright date in the footer, also at 10 point.

If the training program is more than one day, I prefer to print each day’s materials in a separate color, three hole punch them, and place them behind tabs in a three-hole binder. Although my materials often are at least 50 pages per day, I find that the materials for a four day workshop will actually fit comfortably in a 1 inch binder.

Speaking of binders, it is very useful to have binders with pockets on the inside flaps (for additional handouts and participant notes) and a clear plastic cover on the outside, so you can slip a training program title page underneath it.

Color is also very useful to distinguish between different handout, reference, or answer key documents. It makes it much easier for participants to find them if they can search for them by color.

If there are specific worksheets or checklists that the participants may want to use after the workshop, I like to duplicate these in a separate resource packet with its own table of contents. If the participants are expected to complete these worksheets during the training, it is nice to provide them with clean copies to use later. I can also include resource lists (reading materials, websites, etc.) as an added value.

I have only recently started to insert some clip art onto the pages of my training materials, but I think it is a very good idea to add interest to the page. I would love to hear any suggestions about when and where to place clip art, as well as recommended sizes and sources for the clip art!

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