Digital Handbooks in Education: User-Friendly, Cost-Effective, and Safe

Digital Handbooks

A handbook is an essential tool, especially in the field of education. Kindergartens, schools, colleges, universities, even local community educational centers use handbooks to summarize their regulations, policies, and general guidelines for a newcomer. A standard handbook is an overall “how things are done here” manual provided to a student, a parent, or a staff member, always at hand when a reference is needed. At least, at hand is where it’s supposed to be. But no one will carry the printed thing around these days. Not to mention, printing in such quantities regularly costs a lot, and educators are often on a tight budget.

So, how to make a handbook both cheaper to produce and easier to access? We believe that digital handbooks are the answer. And in this article, we’re going to explain why.

University of Oxford Student Handbook

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What Is a Digital Handbook?

A digital handbook is a digital version of or a substitute for a printed handbook. Compared to printed handbooks, digital handbooks are much easier to use: all you need to access them is a mobile device. Availability is vital for a handbook, a ready reference tool by design. Digital handbooks are safer, too, both for the environment and for your health, since they don’t require printing and don’t include touching any other surfaces aside from your own device. 

Why Are Popular Digital Formats Not Always the Best?

There are two popular digital formats educators usually lean toward when bringing their handbooks online: a PDF handbook and a website handbook. However, they’re not the best ones for a number of reasons.

A PDF handbook is almost as hard to navigate as a printed one. To read it, you have to download it first which is a certain downside for those with mobile data and storage limits on their devices. You’ll probably have to download it more than once, too, when an update or a fix in the document is introduced. And for the management department, it means emailing the same large PDF over and over again, even for the smallest of tweaks, if they want readers to be equipped with the latest version of the handbook.

Another digital solution is to simply have your handbook available right on your website as a web-page with dozens of collapsible sections and link directories. But not every website is equally responsive and mobile-ready. Your webpage handbook may seem perfectly intuitive and user-friendly on a big screen, but on a small one it will turn into a nightmare of endless scrolling and confusingly interconnected links.

So, what’s the alternative? A printed handbook is pleasant to hold and nice to keep but costly to share and produce; a digital format is much easier to share yet still can be cumbersome to distribute and often lacks in the aesthetic department. What’s that ideal format that will treat your reader well and help them get the most of your handbook? 

At this, we present to you online flipbooks.

Digital Handbooks as Online Flipbooks

An online flipbook is a digital publication made via FlippingBook Online from a PDF. Such a publication looks exactly like a printed one, down to the smooth page-turn effect. Not only is an online flipbook lifelike, but it’s also dynamic so your handbook always looks good and works fast on any device.

Unlike the PDF it’s created from, a flipbook doesn’t require downloading and can be shared as a link or embedded right into your website—whatever you prefer. The link to it won’t change even if you update the handbook, however many times, which means you don’t have to re-send the file after every update. Just let readers know that the latest version is available and send them the link.

The volume of your handbook or the number of its chapters and subchapters don’t matter either. With text search, thumbnails, and an interactive table of contents, your readers will find the answer they are looking for in seconds.

And you can make your digital handbook even handier with extra features! 

  • Add links to relevant resources that readers might want to check out
  • Insert video instructions for better comprehension and engagement
  • Make the handbook more colorful and visually appealing with inline and pop-up images
  • And don’t forget about design and branding—after all, appearance matters! The polished look of your handbook will convey professionalism to your audience even before they turn the first page

Digital Handbook Examples

There are several kinds of handbooks that are common in the field of education, and each of them can be turned into a digital flipbook, easy to make and share online.

Digital student handbook

Student handbooks are made for students that have just entered school, college, or university. Such handbooks serve as a thorough guide on life on campus and usually cover a wide spectrum of things—from student code of honor, discipline, attendance, and such, to fire safety and substance restrictions. Even though students don’t have to pass an exam on it, ignorantia juris non excusat, so they’d at least better have the handbook somewhere close by to consult when necessary.

Student handbook example

BCPS Student Handbook

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Digital parent handbook

Family handbooks, or parent handbooks, are usually created for parents, caregivers, and guardians of younger students (such as elementary or middle school students) to inform them of the school’s approach to childcare. Parent handbooks often go into details like meals for kids, rest time, pick-up time, field trips, and other day-to-day school business.

Parent handbook example

LCIS Parent Handbook

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Digital employee handbook

Staff handbooks, or employee handbooks, generally try to answer the questions a newly hired staff member might have about their workplace. Employment policies, performance management, compensations, growth opportunities—this is the kind of information you can find in an employee handbook. An employee handbook made for a school or a community college can also clarify how a staff member should handle complex situations that may occur when dealing with students.

Staff handbook example

Al-Maktoum College Staff Handbook

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Digital volunteer handbook

Volunteer handbooks serve as a resource volunteers can consult to better understand their roles and responsibilities in the organization. Handbooks also introduce volunteers to the core values of the educational institution, its policies, and code of conduct.

Volunteer handbook example

Siena College Volunteer Handbook

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In conclusion, all things considered, it’s safe to say that the flipbook format sounds like the perfect match for the very idea of a handbook itself. 

Turned into an online flipbook with FlippingBook Online, your student handbook can be what it’s originally meant to be—not an obligatory read that will be flipped through and thrown away, but a useful go-to manual your student can turn to for answers anywhere, anytime.

People appreciate it.
Leah Pilz, Havergal College


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