Want your eLearning to work? Follow these 8 essential writing tips
If you’re in the manufacturing industry, or really any industry requiring your employees to undergo intensive training and development, eLearning is your best tool for achieving your goals.
eLearning provides opportunities to improve efficiency, overcome traditional barriers to the training process, and present material in a way that’s going to improve overall retention and comprehension.
With that being said, it’s not without challenges. Namely, how do you write scripts for eLearning in a way that’s going to capture and hold the learner’s attention, and turn boring or dry subject matter into something that’s easily comprehended, and remembered once your employees are in action?
eLearning is only effective as its design, and that overall design is highly dependent on how scripts are written, but even if you’re not a natural writer, these tips can help you write the very best scripts that are going to resonate with your employees. Here’s a free white paper to help you.
- Know your audience You absolutely have to know who you’re writing for before you can speak to them in an effective way. If you’re writing for your employees working on your factory floor, your style and approach are going to differ significantly compared to writing for your company’s upper-level executives. Before writing a single word for your eLearning, really assess and evaluate who you’re directing the content at, which will help you tailor your approach.
- Have a conversation with your
learner When you’re writing, always put yourself in the context of being in the midst of a conversation with one of your employees. Don’t write any differently than you would if you were having that face-to-face interaction. If you’re unsure of whether or not you’re achieving that goal, read your content out loud frequently to assess how it sounds when it’s spoken. This is a great way to determine whether or not it’s conversational and flows naturally.
- Short and sweet is the way to go Why use 100 words when you can use 10? No one wants to feel like their time is being wasted, so always keep wording and sentences short, concise and to the point. Don’t use wording to dance around what you’re trying to say—just say it.
- Write in first-person This goes back a bit to making your writing conversational. Your learner will appreciate the feeling that the content is personalized. When you deliver eLearning content that has a personal feeling, it’s more likely to keep the learner engaged, as compared to content they feel like isn’t relevant to them on this individualized level. You can even include conversation starters, or pose questions that grab the attention of the learner, and engage them in what you’re saying just like they would if you were actually speaking to them.
- Chunk it Chunking the content you present in eLearning refers to a broader term, but essentially this idea means you break content up into smaller and more manageable sections that will be easier for the learner to digest, comprehend and retain.
- Tie it all together Incorporate language that brings the reader’s attention to what’s happening on the screen. One of the primary reasons eLearning is so effective for training and corporate environments is because there’s an opportunity to use different elements from text to videos, so try to tie these components together. For example, use your written script to draw the learner’s attention to what’s happening on the screen, such as a picture, graph, or video.
- Be consistent Try to keep your writing consistent throughout, whether it’s through word choice, or writing in active voice. When you’re consistent it will avoid confusion, and help your learner better understand what you’re trying to convey.
- Only include what’s necessary When writing an eLearning script, as mentioned, short and sweet is better, so never include information your learner doesn’t need to know. For example, if you’re training employees on the use of a particular piece of equipment, they don’t need to know the history of that equipment. The best eLearning writing is kept on a need-to-know basis.
These are just some of the most basic rules of writing scripts and text for eLearning, but they’re a good starting point that can help you better understand what it is that makes most learners tick.
Writing for eLearning isn’t like writing a scholarly article or a novel—it’s all about getting your point across in a way that’s efficient and effective, without creating lots of unnecessary “noise” for your learner.