From me – To print or not to print – Workshop materials for modern workshops

There’s no doubt that a well printed and bound workbook looks great on the office shelf but in an era that offers a variety of other options, one does wonder whether printed workshop materials are really worth the paper they’re written on.

For a start there’s the cost. Traditional print has certainly come down in price a fair bit, especially with so much cheap overseas competition now available, but it’s still a fairly expensive process.

Add to that the cost of shipping, the time it takes to get it printed, and the all-too-frequent times that it doesn’t arrive on time (especially if you did go for the discounted overseas service!), meaning a last minute panic and you’d be forgiven for wondering whether it was worth the effort in the first place, especially when one considers that a large number of the people I know in the L&D space (including myself) believe that materials should really be a resource for after the workshop, not a book to be read/followed throughout the workshop!

So if not printed, then what else? Well, a growing number of the clients I work with are now prefering memory sticks with the materials pre-loaded onto them. Aside from the cost, size, and portability benefits of a memory stick, they also offer the opportunity to carry a large number of workshop materials in one handy place, which can, of course, be printed off when required.

An even easier option that the memory stick (especially from a delivery point of view) is the good old email. After all, why wait days for your printed workbooks or memory sticks to arrive by post when your training provider can simply flick a copy to you in an email, which  you can then forward to the workshop participants?

Of course, another benefit of these electronic options is that they offer the opportunity to add something that is simply impossible with printed materials – video content! In an age that increasingly looks for more interactive methods of delivery, having some video to support the participants’ learning (e.g. a presentation from a subject matter expert, a message from the CEO on the role/importance of the training, etc) is a great way to increase engagement and add to the overall learning experience.

This brings me to a more recent workshop materials innovation…the Ipad (or any other ‘tablet’ of course). These amazing pieces of technology are rapidly changing the way we do all sorts of things, including the way we learn. At Chifley we’ve been developing materials for the Ipad that are easier to deliver (via email), more attractive to look at, easier to read, and, via embeded video (and other bits of technology), WAY more interactive and engaging.

Of course, it will be a while before the Ipad/tablet becomes the ‘normal’ way of getting your workshop materials, but with an increasing number of people owning one and an increasing number of businesses providing them for their staff for business reasons, it can surely only be a matter of time before printed materials are a thing of the past!

The only problem with all of this is that it’s leaving me feeling rather old  😦

Cheers,

Sam

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