Employee training of any kind is all about two key things:

Transmitting knowledge to and fostering skills amongst your team.

And neither can be done without the right materials on-hand.

(Okay, okay…you could probably meander through a lecture without even a handout or a script. But the training wouldn’t be all that valuable, would it?)

In all seriousness, the training initiatives you create should always be backed by helpful content, experiences, and other resources to help your learners achieve their goals.

Here, we’ll be discussing:

  • What employee training materials are
  • The pillars of effective employee training materials
  • The essential types of employee training materials
  • Best practices for creating effective employee training materials in 2024

Let’s dive in.

What are Employee Training Materials?

Employee training materials are the resources used to educate, train, and develop skills and knowledge among employees within an organization.

It’s a broad term that refers to a wide range of resources, tools, and documentation. Due to the hybrid nature of modern employee training, a combination of physical and digital resources is essential for effective training today.

Training materials play a crucial role in ensuring employees are well-equipped to meet the challenges of their positions — in turn enhancing productivity, job satisfaction, and overall business performance.

The Pillars of Effective Employee Training Materials

As varied as employee training materials can be, all such resources must adhere to the following principles in order to be effective.   
Perhaps above all else, the learning materials you create for your employees must be relevant:

  • To their current needs and goals
  • To their position and responsibilities
  • To their and the company’s overall performance

And this is coming straight from the employee’s mouth:

According to SHRM, nearly 40% of employees want the training they receive to be more relevant. Given more relevance, 55% believe additional training would enable them to perform their job more effectively.


On more than one level, clarity is another core aspect of effective employee training materials.

On the surface, you of course want the actual learning material to be clear, concise, and easy to understand. A lack of clarity here can lead to mass confusion for your employees — and potentially cause more harm than good.

It should also be clear to your learners how to use your training materials. The less time they spend navigating these resources, the more they can dedicate to their own development.

Lastly, and going along with the above, it should be clear to employees why each resource is so important to their learning experience. This will help them find the best resource(s) to use at a given moment — whether for training or job-related purposes.


All of your training materials should include at least some level of interactivity.

From simple quizzes and checks-for-understanding to hands-on guidance, making learning interactive makes it more likely to stick. Even the most mundane of instruction manuals can offer actionable prompts and other interactive elements that ensure learning isn’t forgotten the moment it’s taken in.



Your training materials are only useful to your employees if they can find them quickly and efficiently.

(If they can’t, well…it’s a missed opportunity to learn, grow, and provide more value to your company. If the problem is systemic, your entire talent base is going to stagnate.)

With regard to employee training materials, “accessibility” means:

  • Stored in a centralized and easy-to-navigate location
  • Available in multiple formats for multiple purposes
  • Designed with the needs of your various employees in mind


With most industries evolving faster than ever, the training materials you use today can become obsolete at any moment.

So, you really have two options here:

  1. Create new training materials to replace the old, over and over again
  2. Create your training materials so they can be easily updated and, as needed, transformed over time

In making your training materials more iterative from the start, you’ll save time and energy while building on the resources that have already shown to be effective.

Essential Types of Employee Training Materials

As we’ve said, employee training materials come in a variety of formats, for a variety of purposes.

Here, we’ll take a look at the most effective types used by successful teams today, including:

  1. Written Documentation
  2. Digital Content
  3. Interactive Resources
  4. Collaborative Tools
  5. Supportive Resources

1. Written Documentation

Written documentation is typically the most straightforward of the training materials we’ll be discussing — but it can still be effective when used properly.

(Note: While this content is also available in digital form, it’s the least reliant on technology for our purposes.)

Training Manuals

Training manuals explain how certain tools or features work, and/or how to work through specific processes within a given domain.


Training manuals can include interactive exercises, quizzes, and other tools to help users assess their knowledge and master the material in question.

Workbooks & Worksheets

Workbooks are used in conjunction with lectures and other such training to reinforce and apply the lessons just learned.


We’ll talk about how to make it not look like homework in a bit…


Checklists should accompany all employee training sessions to both pave a path for learners to follow — and to keep them on said track through to completion.


These can be used for long-term planning (like above), or as an immediate to-do list for quick learning experiences. Either way, it’s a simple way to ensure your employees cover all the bases when learning something new.

2. Digital Content

While most employee training resources fall under the umbrella of “digital content” nowadays, here we’ll be looking at some of the more traditional types that continue to evolve today.

Instructional Videos

Video content is a staple of employee training, predating the other technology-based elements on this list by a longshot.

To be sure, employee instructional videos have come a long way since the boring old lecture-by-video training sessions. Today, employee training videos include interactive elements, and also allow for on-demand viewing to make learning more personalized and accessible for your team.

Video content is also the best way to demonstrate and reinforce tacit knowledge that simply cannot be translated into text.


Webinars are a great way to deliver sequential or otherwise related training sessions to your employees.

Product Enablement Series Webinar - Virtual Office for DR Testing and Planning - 2023-9-13 from Axcient Marketing on Vimeo.

While video content is at the center of most webinars, presentations can also include breakaway sessions and post-lecture discussions to facilitate further learning. Both live and on-demand webinars may include prompts for practical application of the material, as well.

E-Learning Modules

An e-learning module — typically delivered via learning management software— is a set of learning materials delivered in a course-like manner to individual learners.


The course-like structure means e-learning modules can include anything from lectures, videos, and text-based assignments to discussion board prompts and hands-on projects. They often include both short- and long-form assessments that tie into the employee’s overall learning and development plan.

3. Interactive Resources

While most of the training materials we’ve discussed include some level of interactivity, the following make it the focus of the learning experience.

AR & VR Simulations

Augmented and virtual reality continue to emerge as effective means of providing interactive training to your employees.

While still evolving, the technology allows for training that’s safe, requires minimal resources, and can be completed from anywhere and at any time.


Gamification transforms training into a compelling game-like experience, significantly boosting engagement and participation.


By incorporating elements like points, badges, and leaderboards, it motivates employees to actively engage with the content. This not only makes learning more enjoyable, but also fosters a competitive spirit that encourages better performance.

Gamify your microlearning experiences to get the most out of each opportunity. 

4. Collaborative Tools

Though we’ve focused a lot on the individual learner, collaboration is often the key to successful employee training.

That said, you’ll want to invest in the following resources to facilitate collaborative learning throughout your organization.

Discussion Forums

Discussion forums — from simple digital messageboards to comprehensive communities of practice — provide spaces for employees to ask questions, share insights, and engage in meaningful conversations about their training and job-related duties.


Incidentally, these forums act as a dynamic repository of knowledge and experiences, enriching the learning process and allowing all employees to learn from one another over time.

Knowledge Base Software

An internal knowledge base serves as a powerful resource for creating, storing, and sharing company-specific knowledge.

These platforms allow employees to contribute to and edit a collective pool of information, ensuring that content is continually updated and relevant.

Knowledge bases are particularly effective for onboarding new staff, providing them with a comprehensive and accessible repository of company procedures, best practices, and insider knowledge.

Social Learning Platforms

Social learning platforms merge the benefits of social networking with professional development, offering a more informal and engaging way to share knowledge and learn new skills.


These platforms facilitate connections between employees, enabling them to share experiences, insights, and resources. By leveraging the collective intelligence of the workforce, social learning platforms make learning a more integrated and continuous part of the workday.

5. Support Resources

Lastly, you’ll want to create and curate a variety of supportive resources and documentation to help further your trainee’s knowledge and abilities.

Process Maps & Process Documentation

Process maps and process documentation simplify complex procedures into clear, visual steps, making it easier for employees to understand and follow specific workflows.


These tools break down tasks into manageable parts, highlighting decision points, actions, and outcomes in a format that’s intuitive and accessible. By providing a visual roadmap, they help reduce errors and increase efficiency, especially in training scenarios that involve intricate processes or require precision.

Industry Reports

Industry reports are invaluable resources for employees looking to stay abreast of the latest trends, technologies, and best practices within their field.


These comprehensive documents offer in-depth analyses and insights into the current state of the industry, including challenges, opportunities, and future forecasts. By integrating industry reports into training materials, organizations empower their employees with the knowledge needed to anticipate market shifts and innovate in their roles.

Knowledge Base Content

A comprehensive internal knowledge base is one of the most invaluable training resources you can offer your employees.

As a living, ever-evolving database of organizational knowledge, your KB can serve as a guide-on-the-side for your employees throughout their various training experiences.

(In fact, your internal knowledge base is where you’ll house most of the other training materials we’ve discussed here.)

A well-structured knowledge base can actually lead to additional learning opportunities for trainees via interlinking, suggested content, and AI-powered recommendations.

Employee Training Materials: Best Practices

With the above being said, it’s clear that crafting, maintaining, and delivering effective learning materials is key to successful employee training.

Here, we'll dive into the best practices that ensure your training materials not only meet the immediate learning needs of your employees, but also adapt and evolve to meet future challenges and opportunities.

1. Set Clear Objectives

Before taking the time to create a specific resource, you need to know exactly what you hope it will accomplish.

Some examples:

  • By the end of this module, employees will be able to accurately log customer interactions in the new CRM software.
  • After completing this training, team members will understand and apply the latest safety protocols in the warehouse.
  • This document will help learners master the art of crafting compelling sales pitches tailored to our target market segments.

Be sure to tie these goals to the overarching SMART goals for relevant training programs. This will help you home in on specific knowledge, skills, and abilities as you create resources for your employees — and will ensure that each resource you create is as helpful as you’d hoped it to be.

2. Understand Your Audience

To ensure your training materials hit the mark, it's crucial to have a deep understanding of who your learners are.

This involves considering:

  • Their current skill levels
  • Their learning preferences
  • The main challenges they face in their roles and daily workload

…and much more.

Recognizing these differences allows you to create materials that resonate with every learner, making their training journey both more meaningful and more impactful. Moreover, it ensures these resources meet your employees where they’re currently at — and actively pushes them forward to the next stage of their development.

3. Design for Accessibility and Deliverability

Your training materials need to be fully accessible to all employees — in two senses of the word.

Firstly, your trainees must be able to access the necessary materials from any device, at any time, and with minimal friction. Similarly, make sure your training materials can be shared freely amongst your team without risk of data loss or other issues.

(Again, this is why a centralized knowledge base is…central…to your efforts here.)

You also need to ensure your training materials are accessible to employees with certain disabilities or other such needs. This may mean…

  • Offering closed-captioning or text transcripts of video trainings
  • Designing visuals with readable fonts and colors
  • Providing device-specific versions of training content

4. Use Analytics to Track Engagement

Once you’ve published a given resource, you’ll want to keep track of how your employees use it for training and practical purposes over time.

This will look a bit different depending on the resource in focus. For example, you’d want to consider…

  • Page views, unique visitors, and average time on page for knowledge base content
  • Completion rate, rewatches, and drop-off points for training videos
  • Average scores and question-specific performance on quizzes and assessments

Monitoring these metrics and gathering feedback leads to a better understanding of how your training materials are meeting learners' needs — and where there's room for improvement. This data-driven approach enables you to continually refine your training materials and training programs, overall.

5. Repurpose Effective Resources

Okay, so you know by now that your training resources should come in a variety of formats.

(If it’s all one big textbook, I mean…would you read it?)

Beyond this, though, the importance of repurposing your training content cannot be overstated. Instead of starting from scratch with every new resource you create, use what you already have — and what you know already works — to reach more and teach more to your employees.

For example, you might:

  • Create infographics to summarize lecture-based presentations
  • Convert training manuals into interactive e-learning modules
  • Use case studies to develop scripts for simulated role-playing

When repurposing training content, make sure the information is consistent. You don’t want to leave your employees in a spot where they don’t know which resource to trust — or, worse yet, running with the wrong information as they continue on with their training.

6. Make Iterative Improvements

As we said earlier, you’ll need to almost continuously be improving your changing your training materials as time goes on.

The good news, though, is the engagement data you’ve already collected will give you a running start whenever you set out to make these improvements.

From there, you can dig into employee feedback, industry trends and murmurings, and team performance metrics to determine:

  1. Which resources to focus on improving first, and  
  2. What improvements to make within each

You might then decide to bring a select number of trainees further into the fold, and actually have them help plan out these improvements in full. Since they’ve recently gone through related training and engaged with the material in question, they’ll have a clear idea of how to improve the resource for trainees in the future.

Helpjuice: A Central Home for Your Employee Training Resources

Your internal knowledge base is vital to your ability to create and deliver your various training resources to your employees as needed.

To this end, you need a knowledge base tool that:

  • Allows for real-time collaboration and content creation  
  • Offers AI-powered search and navigation for immediate accessibility  
  • Provides intelligent analytics and reports for ongoing resource improvement

In short, you need Helpjuice.

Want to get started with our knowledge base tool? Sign up for a free 14-day trial today!