Writing for E-Learning – 22 Tips that Will Improve Engagement and the Learning Experience
The best e-learning courses have multiple content elements including interactive sections, images, graphics, video, audio, quizzes, and more. Text, however, remains central to all e-learning courses.
Therefore, it’s important you make the text in your e-learning courses as engaging and effective as possible. This will enhance the learning experience, improve outcomes, and deliver maximum return on investment.
Leading e-learning developers in Dubai will help ensure the writing in your e-learning course is as good as possible. The following tips are a good overview.
Before You Start Writing
1. Analyse the content
Your aim when analysing content for your e-learning course is to identify non-essential elements. These are elements that can be additional reading rather than part of the main e-learning course.
Design Tips for Text
2. Split text into multiple pages and use progress indicators
For many e-learning courses, especially topics that are complex and text heavy, you will need to use design techniques to make text more readable. Splitting text over multiple pages or screens is one of the most commonly used options.
When you do this, make sure you use progress indicators so learners can see at a glance how much they still have to get through.
3. Balance each page with text and other content elements
Using graphics, images, charts, and other elements will give your text-heavy pages more balance, making them easier to read.
4. Replace text with a graphic
You can even take the above point a stage further by replacing text with an alternative content element such as a graph, chart, or infographic. After all, you can often say more in less space and less time with a graphic than you can with text.
5. Make sure the text is easy to read
The font you use as well as the font size, colour, and colour contrast are all important to the readability of the text in your e-learning course. Pay particular attention to the contrast between text colour and background colours.
6. Don’t present text in caps
Use normal sentence capitalisation as WRITING PRESENTED IN CAPS IS DIFFICULT AND ANNOYING TO READ.
7. Make text elements interactive
Your e-learning developer will also be able to make text elements interactive. For example, instead of simply clicking Next to get to the next page of text, the learner could click on a graphic, making the process much more interesting and engaging.
8. Write in conversational language
Don’t use writing in e-learning courses that is formal or stuffy. Normal, everyday, conversational language is much easier for learners to process and learn from.
9. Talk to the learner
Talk directly to the learner using words like “you” to refer to the learner and “we” to refer to your organisation. Don’t talk in abstracts or in the third person.
10. Use contractions
Contractions like “you’re”, “I’m”, and “that’s” make writing more conversational and easier to read.
11. Use lists
With lists, you can present information with fewer words in a format that readers can skim through quickly while still taking in all the information.
12. Write sharply
When words are not needed for the sentence to make sense, remove them. One of the best examples is “that” – it can almost always be removed. This is just one example, though.
13. Keep sentences and paragraphs short
Short paragraphs and sentences are easier to read, plus they make your e-learning course more visually attractive and easy to use. This improves the learning experience.
14. Use simple words
- “buy” instead of “purchase”
- “start” instead of “commence”
- “near” instead of “proximity
15. Use an active voice as much as possible
Using an active voice is much more positive than the passive voice, plus it’s a better form of writing.
That said, there are times when the passive voice is either unavoidable or it simply sounds better. When possible, however, use an active voice.
What’s the difference? Here is an example:
- Passive voice: “Our procedures are designed to ensure consistency.”
- Active voice: “We designed our procedures to ensure consistency.”
16. Avoid unnecessary jargon
Jargon can be helpful when dealing with technical topics and when the audience is technically minded. You should use jargon sparingly, however, particularly when there is a risk some learners won’t understand.
17. Don’t repeat points unnecessarily
Repetition can be a powerful learning tool, but you should avoid it as a writing style. In other words, say it once and move on.
18. Avoid flowery, literary language
Writing for e-learning is about getting to the point and describing the concept or skill in a way that is as straightforward as possible. You can’t do this with a writing style that is overly literary or flowery.
19. Write engaging, descriptive titles
Don’t ignore your titles as they are as important as the rest of the text in your e-learning course.
After You Write
Always proofread your content and then proofread it again.
21. Double and triple check spelling and grammar
You will correct spelling and grammar mistakes during proofreading, but you should also use digital tools like spell checkers.
22. Refine, edit, and improve
Finally, continuously seek opportunities to refine and improve the writing in your e-learning course. One effective way to achieve this is to leave the content overnight, coming back to it fresh the next day. This will help the refinement process.