Why It’s Time to Ditch Your Dusty Training Binders

For training managers who’ve relied on paper-based training binders for years, the idea of going digital may seem intimidating, confusing, or just not worth the trouble. Yet while it might seem easier to stick with binders, they increasingly fall flat amongst newer generations like millennials, as well as employees who learn better with more interactive materials. Plus, paper-based materials can curb progress toward a more effective and cost-efficient training program. And it’s not just about room for improvement–going digital can solve tangible problems that you face today (and may not even realize you had).

To give you a better sense of how digital content can boost your training program, we’ve outlined five ways that binders and paper-based training materials are holding you back, and what you stand to gain by ditching them for good.

1. They don’t offer immediate data and feedback

With paper-based materials, it’s difficult to know how many employees have actually read through the entirely of your material or how well they know it. Digital content, on the other hand, allows for immediate feedback between instructors and students, whether from analytics, such as pages read and test percentages earned, or employee notes recorded right in the content. Training managers can choose which data matters most, and set clear standards for their training, based on business objectives.

2. They’re cumbersome

The most obvious pitfall of paper binders is that they’re cumbersome–using paper means that you have to spend time collecting and distributing materials, manually entering test scores and sorting files. With digital devices, however, your employees can access your content at the touch of a button. Even better, if you have a cloud-based content solution, synced updates mean that you won’t have to pester your employees to use a particular PDF or download the latest version; they’ll already have the content waiting for them in their secure account.

3. They’re more expensive over time

Even though going digital might seem more expensive, the shift toward cloud computing is on your side. With a cloud publishing solution, you’ll save money in the medium to long term by cutting reprinting and distribution costs from content errors and updates. What’s more, by ensuring that every employee is operating under the most up-to-date content, you won’t risk any business errors from faulty or outdated content, which, according to a report from the IDC, can add up to $37B.

While cheap in the short term, the cost of paper binders quickly adds up. For example, some of our customers spent more than $15 per person per paper packet they produced, including the materials, the shipping, and distribution costs. After factoring in the number of new employees, necessary binder replacements and updates, as well as the number of binders needed per employee, that number escalated fast. Even putting cost aside, at the rate that today’s information evolves, paper can barely keep up.

4. They’re aren’t available on the go

As more and more companies embrace BYOD (“bring your own device”), your employees expect to be able to access corporate content, which includes employee training, on their mobile devices. Not only does this give them more flexibility to learn at their own pace, but it also encourages them to further engage with the material in their downtime, such as on the bus or in-between meetings. While they could carry around their paper binders, they’d have much less incentive to open those on the bus.


5. They aren’t interactive

Printed paper–or even PDFs–does little to delight and engage with your employees. Instead, with HTML-based digital content, you can choose from a variety of interactive features to display your training materials in the ways most likely to improve learning and help your users achieve their learning outcomes. Maybe your introductory message would be better as a short video, or maybe a slideshow on next year’s planning would be better as an interactive timeline. With the right tools, digital content can unlock your own creativity and let your content shine.

The bottom line:

Paper binders might meet your bare minimum now, but odds are, they won’t for long–and these inadequacies will only get worse. In order to get ahead of the coming changes, begin looking into digital content solutions and all of the exciting, new opportunities that can come with them. For a better sense of what makes a great content creation solution, read our Founder and CEO Matt MacInnis’ recent article, “In Corporate Content, Five New Rules for Content Tools.”

To learn more about Inkling’s cloud publishing platform, Inkling Habitat, contact our sales team for a free demo.