Learning Guides a Great Addition to Procedures Manuals

Learning Guides a Great Addition to Procedures Manuals

Tutorials are a very useful means of providing flexible Manuals delivery when the topic and circumstances contribute to it. According to Bruhn and Guthrie (1994), a learning guide is a “structured booklet designed to guide the student through a variety of learning activities and a variety of resources to

achieve specific competencies or learning outcomes.”


A learning guide is not a ‘how-to’ manual like the manuals that accompany televisions, microwaves,

and computers, etc., but can be used with them. The main focus of tutorials (hereinafter “guides”)

is that they guide users through a structured learning experience. The manuals do not, they simply provide a variety of activities that users can follow to obtain specific results. An example will

highlight the difference.




On one occasion, I used guides to cover a half dozen small topics that were important but did not

justify group training (later I redesigned them as computer-based instructional modules that are delivered online). This was in an organization so that had six offices spread across the Northern

Territory (Australia), two of which were remote. The cost of delivering the training was often very

high due to the need to travel, so it was desirable to find alternative ways of delivering the training

to keep the cost low.


One of the topics covered by my guides, for example, was titled “Using Delegations” and consisted

of only 16 pages.

familiar with delegations

Note: For those who are not familiar with delegations, they refer to actions or omissions that a

person with a specific job may or may not perform, eg. Eg Approve an employee’s leave, purchase

goods and services worth up to $ 30,000, or cancel an employee’s service. The people who exercise

a delegation are called delegates. If you don’t have delegation, you can’t legally perform a task.

so It was important that the delegates knew what they were allowed to do or not. Non-delegates

had to know who had the delegation to perform the required tasks. My short tutorial included

the following parts:


An overview of the module so that describes the purpose, execution strategy, learning outcomes,

how to achieve the results, the resources required, and details on how the topic should be


Five learning activities

An evaluation questionnaire

A summary and review page

An answer guide attached to the midterm (self-assessment) topics

Learning activity a detailed framework for delegations, i.e.. constitutional and legislative issues

that allow delegation. There were two activities at the end of learning activity one. The first

required students to obtain a copy of an act of Parliament and study various sections

(on delegation). The second required people to read a description, find the part of a law that

belonged to the description, and write the answers on a blank board. (This was my way of making

sure people were reading certain sections.)

Learning activities two through five all had a similar process of getting students to do something followed by a short self-assessment.

real-life delegation activities

Finally, students were expected to answer 10 “fill in the answer” questions and answer two small

case studies that involved real-life delegation activities. so that The first required students to consult the organization’s delegation manual and record which delegation (if any) suited a particular

circumstance. Once the students completed the assessment questionnaire, they would fax

it to the department of education. One of mine marks it and gives his opinion on the result.


Each learning activity covered a small separate part of the whole topic. (People learn in small

chunks). Give feedback through self-assessment and fax assessment. (People need comments).

The topics were logically sequenced. (People need to work from general concepts to specific

concepts). The students used the guidelines and legislation that actually apply to them in their

daily work. (Adult learners especially want to learn “real” practical solutions and not deal with



You now understand how the structure of a tutorial and the use of instructional design principles differentiate them from a standard operating manual. An important benefit of tutorials is so that

you don’t have to incorporate documents so that are available elsewhere … all you do is refer to them.

If they change, it’s not that difficult to update your guide

The Real Rewards of Safe Outdoor Learning


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