4 ways to improve your e-learning writing skills

07 Jan 2021 Lee Luong 0 Motion Graphics and VFX

Instructional designers spend a lot of time writing, whether it's scripts, scenarios, quiz questions, definitions, technical content, etc. And the list is still long !

So it goes without saying that strong writing skills are essential. But good writing isn't all about correct spelling and grammar. The challenge is also to engage your learners. Here are some tips to help you improve your writing skills to create eLearning that makes an impact.

Understand the underlying need

Before starting an e-learning project, find out why this module is important for learners. Define the problem you are trying to solve before you write your first word.

From there, you can begin to write the module objectives that will overcome the difficulty noted. The objectives of the module help you, as an e-learning designer, to precisely meet the needs of the learners. But how do you communicate your objectives so that the learners really understand the need to follow the module? The reformulation of the objectives of the module for the learner can give him a reason to engage in the training.

For example, if you create a module for customer service on Dealing with Unhappy Customers, your goal might look like this:

By the end of this module, you will be able to respond to unhappy customers using three different techniques.

However, when communicating this objective to the learner, try wording like this instead:

Have you ever received a call from an upset customer and you didn't know how to answer it? What made it difficult for you? In this module, we will explore three different techniques that you can use to solve these types of problems in a positive way.

Do you see the difference? The second version allows learners to reflect on a difficulty they have actually encountered and then offers them a solution, in the form of a module. Learners are much more likely to engage when they see and identify with a need.

Be convincing

An interesting and compelling module introduction may be enough to grab the attention of learners. When you succeed in attracting learners, they are more involved in following the module.

Here are three different topics you can start with to get learner engagement right off the bat:

  1. Introduce a problem they face at work. Starting with a real scenario or problem that learners face in the course of their work makes your content immediately relevant. 
  2. Focus on interesting facts or statistics. This information, whether surprising, confusing or impactful, can make learners want to take your module to find out more.
  3. Tell a relevant story. Telling a true story can make your content more lively and closer to the learner. 

But learner engagement does not end at the start of the module. Use these techniques throughout your module and end with a powerful conclusion that ties in with the learner's initial motivation to take the module.

Address learners

Speak directly to learners. An informal writing style is more personal and makes the content more accessible. Learners want to feel that you are really talking to them .

Instead of : “Service employees need to actively listen to the customer instead of thinking about how to react. "

Try : “Actively listen to your customer instead of thinking about how you should react. "

By speaking directly to learners, you connect with them, making it easier for them to internalize and absorb the content.

When talking to your learner, here are a few other things to keep in mind when writing:

  • Keep it short and simple. 
  • Stick to one idea per sentence or slide
  • Forget about complicated words and jargon

To learn more about this topic, see this article: Why and how to customize your e-learning modules .

Read yourself aloud

It's hard to proofread and verify your own work, but it's a great way to improve yourself. One way to do this is to read your text aloud. Your brain processes information differently when you read aloud, so it's a good way to spot issues like:

  • Mistakes and mistakes. You may have read your course several times in your head already, but reading it aloud makes it easier to find misspellings, awkward sentences, and sentences that don't work.
  • Lack of consistency. In the same way that you can hear if there is a wrong note in a song, reading aloud helps you identify content that doesn't seem to be in sync with the rest of the module. 
  • A mechanical tone or too dry. If you are tired of reading your module aloud, it is a good sign that your tone is too formal. 

These are just a few ideas to help you create e-learning modules that will have a real impact on learners. For more writing tips, check out these articles: 

BY: Lee Luong

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