Delivering hands-on tutorials on bioinformatics software and web applications is a challenging didactic scenario. The main reason is that trainees have heterogeneous backgrounds, different previous knowledge and vary in learning speed. In this article, we demonstrate how multi-stage learning aids can be used to allow all trainees to progress at a similar speed. In this technique, the trainees can utilize cards with hints and answers to guide themselves self-dependently through a complex task. We have successfully conducted a tutorial for the molecular viewer PyMOL using two sets of learning aid cards. The trainees responded positively, were able to complete the task, and the trainer had spare time to respond to individual questions. This encourages us to conclude that multi-stage learning aids overcome many disadvantages of established forms of hands-on software training.