For many people in a corporation or organization, particularly those charged with creating multimedia learning content for training and development, writing may not be a talent. Writing can in fact be a daunting task for people who don’t specialize in doing so, yet creating meaningful learning management system (LMS) content relies on the quality of writing.
You can create as many high-tech videos or simulations as you like, but if you don’t have a solid and well-written script to bolster these components, it’s unlikely to be effective.
Most experts in the multimedia learning industry agree on one point – good writing is the backbone of good multimedia training and development.
So how do you tackle your company’s script writing?
- Treat your audience with respect. What we mean by this is that you shouldn’t purposely try to “dumb down” your writing, or approach writing an eLearning script as if you’re writing it for a group of young children. Your employees are likely going to find this offensive and disengaging, which means they’re going to tune out and you’ve essentially wasted your time in the creation of this material. Speak to your audience in a way that’s appropriate, professional and as if you’re addressing a respected peer.
- Approach the writing of your script as if you’re having a conversation. This is important from two perspectives – first, you need to use a tone of voice and words that reflect a casual-yet-professional workplace conversation, but you also need to make sure your written content flows in a way that makes sense. Often, when you’re creating various slides and sections it can be difficult to remember to maintain a sense of flow from one section to the next, so be very aware of this when you begin writing. If things seem disjointed or seem to move in a way that’s illogical or lacks coherence, you’re going to have a hard time reaching your audience.
- Focus only on the essential information. Often, the best practice for ensuring you’re presenting only the necessary information to your audience is to edit your script several times. Anything that’s redundant or not absolutely a necessity should be taken out. It can be easy to get carried away when you’re writing a script, but you’re not creating an epic novel—you’re creating content that should be relevant, to the point, engaging and above all, effective. Also, if you could demonstrate your point with an image, a chart or some other visual component, do that. Keep your actual script as brief as possible, and let imagery do the work for you whenever it’s a possibility.
- Approach script writing with the human element in mind. You’re not writing content for a robot, so why utilize a writing style that would say otherwise? Once you’ve written your script, sit down and look at it from the perspective of your targeted audience. Ask yourself if your employees are going to be able to relate to what you’ve written in a real, authentic way, or if they’re going to instead feel bogged down by something written in the style of a set of Ikea instructions. Yes, you want to be informative, and you want to be succinct, but you also want to write content that’s appealing from a humanistic perspective.
- Don’t take yourself too seriously when you’re writing your next LMS script. This is a piece of writing advice that can really help you achieve the other four tips we’ve written. Yes, you want to speak to your audience in a tone that’s professional and respectful, but you also shouldn’t try to use overly complex words for the sake of doing so, or write content that’s so stuffy and serious no one’s going to want to focus on what you’re saying. Also, add elements that are going to give your writing a personal touch, whether it’s conversational questions, anecdotes, or even a little humor.
Script writing becomes somewhat of an art when you’re creating multimedia learning. It’s about finding a balance between being personable and warm, while also maintaining a sense of succinctness and professionalism. Find that balance by putting yourself in the shoes of your audience, and write in a way that you feel would both appeal to you, but also be effective, and you’re more likely to achieve better eLearning content on a holistic level.