Tailored Procedures Documentation: Tools and Techniques for Every Learning Style

Feb 20, 2024 | Administrative Professionals, Innovation, Procedures, Productivity

In the world of process improvement, documented procedures help facilitate operational efficiency. Whether it’s scribbled notes or complex digital files, the importance of procedures documentation cannot be overstated.

Having procedures in any form is better than having no documented procedures at all. A handwritten procedure is still a documented procedure. It can be scanned into a digital format and referenced from anywhere, by anyone. And for the vast majority of procedures, that’s good enough.

However, as we navigate the complexities of modern business environments, we can’t ignore the need for advanced documentation techniques for some procedures. Leveraging AI and other innovative tools can transform your procedural documentation into a powerful asset that improves understanding, engagement, and effectiveness.

One of the more labor-intensive procedures my team and I use covers how we add new courses to our learning management system. The procedure is 12 pages long. It contains multiple steps, and each of those steps has close to a dozen sub-steps.

When creating this procedure, I included advanced documentation techniques such as screenshots and video walk-throughs to make sure that anyone who followed the procedure would be set up for success, even if it was their very first time performing the task.

Here are some of my favorite tools for advanced procedures documentation:

  • Microsoft Office Suite/OneDrive: For real-time collaboration, document creation, video and audio recording, and file storage.
  • Google Docs/Drive: For real-time collaboration and document storage.
  • Evernote or Microsoft OneNote: For capturing notes, images, and audio recordings.
  • Microsoft Teams: For integrating documentation into the workflow of teams.
  • Loom or Snagit or Wondershare Filmora: For creating quick video walkthroughs and tutorials.
  • Scribe: For automatically capturing each step of a procedure as you do it with text and screenshots of each click you make.
  • Otter: For transcribing verbal instructions and recordings so you can convert them into written procedures.
  • LucidChart or Miro: For workflows and processes that require decision points and multiple outcomes.
  • ChatGPT or Gemini: For speeding up the process of creating, editing, and improving procedures.
  • Slack: For team-based communication and documentation sharing.
  • Trello: For organizing procedures into actionable steps and collaboration.
  • Asana or Teamwork: For project management with detailed documentation capabilities.

The Best Advanced Documentation Techniques Based on Learning Styles

Advanced documentation techniques are fantastic for making complex procedures easier. But not everyone learns the same way. There are plenty of options to accommodate different learning styles in your procedures documentation.

There are four widely recognized learning styles:

  • Visual
  • Auditory
  • Reading and Writing
  • Kinesthetic

Let’s look a little closer at each.

Visual learners like their information presented in a clear, organized fashion. Flowcharts, videos, mind maps, diagrams, and color coding helps them better understand complex concepts.

Suggested advanced documentation apps and tools for visual learners include:

  • Canva or Adobe Spark: For creating infographics and visual guides.
  • Lucidchart or Microsoft Visio: For detailed diagrams and flowcharts.
  • Prezi: Offers visually engaging presentations.
  • Trello or Asana: These tools can use color coding and visual project boards to organize procedures.

Auditory learners learn best when they can listen to the information being presented. Audio recordings, videos containing strong narration, lectures, podcasts, or verbal instructions resonate better than any other medium.

Suggested advanced documentation apps and tools for auditory learners include:

  • Audacity or GarageBand: For creating and editing audio guides and instructions.
  • Loom or Vimeo: To create video content with clear, concise narrations.
  • Word, OneNote, or PowerPoint: For audio recording tools.
  • Otter: For audio recording and transcription.

Reading and writing learners prefer getting their information from written sources. (This learning style is best suited to “traditional” procedures.) They also do well when they can reinforce what they learn by taking notes, writing outlines, or summarizing information in their own words.

Suggested advanced documentation apps and tools for reading and writing learners include:

  • Google Docs or Microsoft Word: For creating text-based documents with the option for collaboration.
  • Evernote or OneNote: Great for organizing written notes, documentation, and procedures in a searchable format.
  • Otter: Great for converting the recorded audios into transcriptions that can be formatted into a more structured written procedure.

Kinesthetic learners absorb information best through hands-on experience and engagement. They need to get their hands on the task in order to best understand it. Interactive tutorials, simulations, and hands-on training are most effective. The combination of visual, auditory, and written components of your procedure help facilitate the kinesthetic learner’s preference for learning by doing.

Suggested advanced documentation apps and tools for kinesthetic learners include:

  • Miro or Microsoft Whiteboard: Interactive whiteboard apps for brainstorming and process mapping that users can participate in.

Because the procedures you create will likely be used by others who may have a different preferred learning style than you do, it’s best if you can include elements of each in your procedures manual. This makes your procedures more inclusive and effective, no matter who is using them.

Not every procedure is going to include these advanced techniques. You likely won’t need a video tutorial to document how to make the coffee in the morning or a multimedia presentation showing how to order pens and printer paper. For complex, time-consuming tasks, however, advanced documentation techniques can save you and your team a lot of time, effort, and headache!

Advanced documentation techniques are not just about keeping records; they’re about enhancing accessibility, understanding, and execution of procedures across diverse learning styles. While not every task demands high-level documentation, for those that do, the investment in advanced techniques can significantly reduce time, effort, and the potential for error. I encourage you to experiment with these tools and strategies and  tailor your approach to meet the unique needs of your business and team.

Would you like some help creating your administrative procedures? Here are some options:

  1. Training on Demand Webinar: Unlocking Efficiency with AI and Innovative Procedures Documentation Tools
  2. Book: Become a Procedures Pro® 
  3. Immediate access to all our current training plus future training for one low monthly or quarterly subscription fee with an AdminPro Training® VIP Pass

All these training products come with access to our exclusive weekly Procedures Power Hours through March 2024. Power Hours are your chance to connect with me and my team of experts to get answers to your questions, troubleshoot any problems, and receive support and accountability as you create your administrative procedures.

 

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© 2024 Julie Perrine International, LLC

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Julie Perrine is the founder and CEO of All Things Admin, providing training, mentoring and resources for administrative professionals worldwide. Julie applies her administrative expertise and passion for lifelong learning to serving as an enthusiastic mentor, speaker and author who educates admins around the world on how to be more effective every day. Learn more about Julie’s books — The Innovative Admin: Unleash the Power of Innovation in Your Administrative Career and The Organized Admin: Leverage Your Unique Organizing Style to Create Systems, Reduce Overwhelm, and Increase Productivity, and Become a Procedures Pro: The Admin’s Guide to Developing Effective Office Systems and Procedures, and Prove Your Skills! With a Powerful Professional Portfolio.

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