Whenever you attend any type of training course, you will, or at least should receive some form of training notes or course-ware. This can take many forms depending on the type of training, subject, type and cost of the course. If you are attending a free seminar which only lasts a couple of hours, don’t expect much more than a couple of photocopied hand outs, however if you are on a professional IT or soft skills course which lasts anywhere from a day, to a week or more, you should receive either an official course manual, as in the case for say a Microsoft certification, or quite often these days the course notes may be generated and printed by the company who are delivering the training or at least bought in by them, particularly if it’s the type of subject where things are constantly progressing and topics need to be updated on a regular basis.
Self printed manuals are also becoming more popular these days, where the tutor may just issue a CD/DVD with all the course manuals included on there, in the same way that many software companies do when you buy their software. Of course they all give the excuse of being a green option, but in reality it’s done because it saves them money on printing, handling and delivery costs. The main benefit to the trainee is that you could load the manual or course notes onto multiple PC’s (or tablets) so you can have the information at home, on a work PC and your laptop, ideal for quickly checking something on the fly!
The way the manuals are presented can vary enormously, if they are printed by the vendor, then all companies generally have to use the same format and the most variance is probably if they use the hardback cover or not. However if they are self produced the options are limitless with PVC folders available for collecting loose handouts, ring binders available in pretty much any colour you can think of and printed with the training companies branding, or for large single client projects, often incorporating their branding too.
Of course these type of folders aren’t just limited to the private training sector, they are also used by schools, colleges and universities for single subject course-ware, record of achievement folders and project based work. Schools tend to use the budget range of plastic wallets and folders in tougher materials, private training companies are at the other end of the scale with fancy block printed designs on loose leaf ring binders which generally look better and universities seem to vary enormously from one end of the scale to the other.