An online training course without solid writing behind it is like a house without framing; great features to look at but something that doesn’t hold up when put through daily use. All the interactions, scenarios and gamification in the world aren’t going to help you if the writing isn’t there.
Writing can encompass a number of things within custom online training development; everything from the on-screen text to a scripted video. Each form has different considerations so the approach used for one form might not work as well for another. Let’s look at a few of the different methods.
You need to keep in mind the purpose of each individual slide when writing content that appears on it. Text-heavy interferes with the design and is not conductive to learning. Keep your text concise, focused and pertinent to the training goal you want achieved.
The language that’s used in an online training course should not only promote engagement from the learners but also relevant to the course itself. For instance, the type of language that a character would speak of in a scenario-based online course might not be the same language that you use in your day to day life. If you’re unfamiliar with what that language would be, you may either have to ask someone who works in the industry for input or have a third-party consult you on your writing.
Audio can be used in different ways in online training. It can be used to supplement the online speech that a character is saying in the slide. It can also be used as a narration tool to describe a situation or problem in the course.
In narration, the purpose is to provide exposition. The way that you write should reflect that. Make sure that your writing is descriptive, yet relevant to the material being taught. Too much description may confuse the learner.
Additionally, if there are any sound effects cues that need to work in conjunction with the narrative writing, make sure to address them so that the course designer will know when to insert them when they are editing the audio track.
Audio can also be used to give characters in the online training a voice. If you have a talented person on staff that can provide voice talent and the technology on hand, you can save time by recording the characters in-house. Otherwise you may need to forgo the audio or look into the services of a voice artist.
Writing for video has many similarities to writing for audio but there are a few notable differences. Firstly, the writing on a video track can be longer in length than the equivalent amount of text that’s being displayed on a slide. As a consequence, it allows for the speaker to go more in depth into important concepts.
Writing should be naturalistic and something that a speaker would actually say. Your goal is to make the writing clear but not sound overly scripted. It’s a fine line. The best way to test this out is to read the writing out loud yourself or by getting someone else to do it and observing them. Doing so will quickly flag any words or phrases that may read well on paper but not as well when spoken.
There may be cases when you need to include some technical writing within your course. Technical writing needs to be focused and have a clear goal in mind from the outset. This will define how the rest of the writing falls into place.
More importantly, it needs to consider that the reader is not an expert on the subject and clearly describes the concepts so that it facilitates learning.
Additionally, the use of examples in technical writing will also help the learner to form the concepts in their mind. Also, if a concept needs to be repeated in order to make it clear, don’t shy away from doing so.
Finally, question types have their own considerations. Questions should be worded in a way that is clear, concise, and relevant to the goal of the course or module.
Questions will typically take up two lines of text at most. Having defined limits will help you to make sure that your writing is of high quality. Keep the adjectives to a minimum as they won’t add anything to the question.
Writing for an online course encompasses several considerations. Not everyone is an expert at all types of writing so you may need to delegate tasks to those who are better suited. However, the quality of writing is often tied to the clarity of thinking by the writer. If there’s one lesson to be learned from all the different types of writing that can occur in an online course; it’s that the goal is to facilitate long-lasting knowledge transfer.