Often, an interesting course can lose its audience with bad writing. Good elearning content has a specific set of qualities that those who are designing one need to pay attention to. Otherwise, your course may end up with few students and little positive feedback.
Here are some tips on how to write great elearning content:
- Map it out. The first part of your writing process should be all about organization. What’s the best order to present the content? What questions might come up that you should address? How can you reinforce previous content as you go along so that the students don’t forget? How can you build the concepts they are learning from basic to more sophisticated? Write an outline, brainstorm or make a flowchart in order to organize your thoughts. You might also consider using a mind-mapping application such as Bubble.us or Mindmeister to help you get a visual grasp on your ideas.
- Simplicity. No matter how complicated or technical your subject is, finding a way to make it simple is an important part of teaching. Use basic language as often as possible. Don’t fill your content up with complicated sentences and terms that will only leave your students confused. Short, concise sentences with everyday vocabulary is the way to go. If you want a tool that will help you cut the fluff out of your writing, try the Hemingway app. It scans for dense or complex sentences, confusing logic, adverbs, passive voice and more. If you want to take advantage of proofreading by humans, use writing service Jetwriters.com. Their team of professional writers and editors will check your texts and make it easy to read.
- Use dynamic language. How many texts have you read that made you feel like the writer was droning on in a monotone? How quickly did you tune out? Don’t do this to your readers. Engage them by using sentences that pack a punch. Use active voice instead of passive voice. For example, don’t say: “The entire program was designed by Steve Jobs.” Instead say, “Steve Jobs designed the entire program.” Use action verbs to make your sentences exciting and fun to read. Here’s a great list of action verbs for you to keep on file while writing.
- Pay attention to visuals. Often, it’s not just what’s written but how it’s presented that makes a text reader-friendly. Maybe you’ve done all of the above and delivered an excellent text that’s fun and engaging to read. But you wrote long paragraphs with few breaks. And you didn’t take advantage of numbering or bullet points when it was appropriate. Readers are able to retain information better when their eye can scan the page and easily capture the main idea. Making them pore over densely written content is tiring for the eye and the brain. Make it easy for them to read your content by writing shorter paragraphs, using numbers and bullet points for main ideas, and including pictures and other visual cues to help illustrate your ideas.
- Make sure your grammar is spot-on. Nothing takes away your credibility as a teacher than poor grammar. If your students are able to spot your grammar mistakes, then you really need to put more effort into your editing. After all, what’s the point of writing excellent content if it’s spoiled by spelling and grammar errors? Grammarly is the number one grammar checking app on the market right now. It scans and corrects your text for over 250 types of errors. Put your text through their check before publishing it and you should be in great grammar shape.
Try to remember that the point of designing your course is to pass on information to someone else. Always keep in mind the lowest common denominator, keep things simple and easy to understand, and your course should be a success.
Written by: Cari Bennette
Cari Bennette is an active blogger and freelance writer who contributes to education-related blogs. She writes about e-learning, academic writing, career tips and literature.