Digital Training Materials vs. Printed Training Manuals

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Training ManualsOne of the biggest divides today is between people who prefer printed material versus those who prefer digital. How often have you heard a heated debate between e-reader users and readers who prefer traditional books, magazines, and newspapers?

The same goes for training materials. There are many managers who prefer to take a traditional approach and provide their staff members with printed training materials, while others embrace new technology and provide their staff with digital manuals.

The experts at 3C Contact Services advise that both print and digital methods have their advantages and combining the two methods can satisfy both worlds. For example, try offering training materials in a PDF format that your staff members have the option of printing off; this will satisfy both those who prefer to hold printed manuals in their hands and those who like to read on their computer monitors.

Let’s look at the advantages of digital manuals:

Digital Is Flexible

If you need to make changes or add new material to your training manuals, or if you notice a spelling or grammar error and want to edit it, you can easily update your digital manual online or through the shared drive. Your employees will have instant access to the updates.


When you print training manuals, whether through your office printer or by using a professional service, it costs money. By providing your new agents with digital training materials—and the option of printing them—you will save your organization money on production supplies.

Always on Hand

Let’s be honest: your agents will likely lose the printed copies of their training materials. Digital manuals are always on hand and can be printed anew or simply read online. And digital manuals will always be available on your organization’s network drive or cloud server, which is beneficial for remote workers.


More companies are doing their part to help the environment by offering digital training materials. Cutting down on paper usage is an eco-friendly business practice and it will save your company money.

Easy to Share

Digital training materials are extremely easy to share; simply let your agents know where they can find the manual on your company’s shared storage. Cloud computing makes it easy for your staff to locate important documents.

And now, the advantages of printer manuals:

Easy to Refer To

With digital materials, your agents have to take the time to open their browsers, word processing software, or PDF readers and then locate the relevant information. With printed manuals, they can pick up the copies they have at their desks and quickly flip to the relevant information. They also have the option of highlighting any relevant material as well.

Easy to Pass Along

If you’re only hiring a few new agents then it won’t make sense to print new training materials. Instead, you can make copies of a training manual or, if your more experienced agents have copies and no longer need them, they can “recycle” them to new agents.


Potter, E., “Relevancy in the Digital Age: Thoughts on Digital vs. Print Media,” Information Experts web site;, last accessed April 21, 2015.