Training manuals update

Project brief



Humanmade offers 14 different equipment training courses, including woodworking, metalworking, laser cutting, sewing and more. The original instructor facing and student facing training materials were all written by different people at different times, and varied significantly in quality, comprehensiveness, and approach. The materials were also created in a variety of programs including Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, Microsoft Word, and Google Slides. They wanted to create a standardized set of materials that would be easier to maintain and update.

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  • I chose Google Docs for writing training materials, allowing easy sharing between staff and external experts due to the organization's heavy use of Google Workspace.
  • I created templates for student handouts, instructor guides, lesson plans, and “quick start” job-aids for each machine, ensuring new content conforms to standards.
  • I collaborated with staff and volunteer subject matter experts to re-write and update the training materials
  • Many instructors at the makerspace are subject matter experts themselves, and may not have significant teaching experience. I helped create lesson plans with scripts for key parts of class, informed by Gagne's 9 events of instruction to help them until they find their personal teaching voice.
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The solution

The solution included a set of documents for each training course. In the process of talking to senior instructors, we also decided to create protocols for standardizing the training and onboarding of new instructors:

  • Student Handout: Essential training information provided as a booklet and PDF for all participants.
  • Instructor Checklist and Lesson Plan: A checklist to ensure all essential skills and information are covered, and a detailed lesson plan for new and trainee instructors.
  • New Instructor Training Protocol: A standardized process where new instructors observe a senior instructor, assist in training, and teach independently under observation before approval.
  • Prototyping New Training Sessions: New sessions are tested with staff or volunteers as students, refined through at least one alpha and one beta session before public offering.
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The results

  • The clear onboarding process and support helped us attract and retain more instructors.
  • Standardized training materials in shared folders allowed staff to quickly edit and update content.
  • We reassigned, and in some cases had to let go of, volunteer instructors not following procedures, which improved learner performance.

Video examples

Turning a bowl

A short promotional video showing a montage of how to turn a small bowl on the wood lathe. Meant to encourage new members to try the wood lathe training.

Saw blade choice

A short video showing the benefits and drawbacks of the most common styles of table saw blades.

CMS training

The organization is changing from one CRM system to another. This is a brief video showing how to book workshop equipment in the new system.

What is CNC

An introduction to CNC machines at the Humanmade woodshop. What they can do, their history, and how something goes from digital design to being cut.


Look below to learn more about me and to see a selection of my recent work. If you want to work with me directly you can also reach out, I love to work with individuals and organizations to spread workshop knowledge and skills.

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