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Documentation vs. Training Solutions

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When a company recognizes the need for some kind of documentation or training — maybe certain jobs require specific knowledge or skills, new products have been developed, technical support calls have increased, regulations have changed, new software or tools are being implemented, or organizational changes are planned — it can be a challenge to determine the best documentation and training solution. Such decisions should include weighing key factors including goals, users, information type, industry, and circumstances. Orbis works with companies to weigh these factors to devise the most effective approach.

documentation vs training

It’s a good best practice to establish suitable documentation before exploring training options, but keep in mind that documentation and training should be viewed as complementary tools that work together. It is possible that the right solution might be a combination of documentation and training to address the goals and challenges of the situation.

At Orbis, technical content is what we do. We take the time to engage with our clients’ stakeholders and subject matter experts to build an understanding of their business needs. We ask questions, listen, learn, and explore options that make sense for our clients. Our solution architects, technical writers, courseware developers, technical illustrators, and project managers have worked together across many industries, approaches, and tools. From software platforms to industrial processes to consumer products to financial applications (and everything in between), we have helped our clients develop effective documentation and training that meets their business needs, often while reducing unit costs.

Contact us today to find out how we can design a solution that makes sense for your business.


Documentation is most appropriate for providing on-demand, task-based information that people can refer to whenever they need help getting something done, such as running a specific report. Documentation is intended to provide all and only the steps to be done to complete a task. Individual chunks of information are kept small for ease of use, and topics are often set up to provide options for a user to navigate on their own to find the information they need. Documentation is used as an encyclopedia or search engine might be used and should be available all the time.

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Training is most appropriate for building knowledge and skills, particularly around transitional times, such as during platform upgrades, organizational changes, or skill additions. It should be measurable and improve broad capabilities, providing context around when and why tasks should be performed. Training programs might use chunks of documentation, but the focus is more on concepts and relationships among tasks to provide context. Well-designed training includes knowledge checks, assessments, and feedback to ensure people are learning and receiving validation of learning success. Training will have a specific starting point and follow a specific path, to be used during a specific time period.

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