5 Lessons from Writing 101 You Thought You’d Never Need for e-Learning

Writing 101 - 2013 Nov 5

You probably never thought the concepts from Writing 101 would later help you in your e-Learning development. But we’re not talking about the writing or the text in your course! The basic lessons from Writing 101 can actually be applied to your e-Learning course planning, techniques and overall organization.

Here are 5 lessons from Writing 101 that you thought you’d never need for developing an e-Learning course:

  • Perfect the introduction.
    The introduction is a crucial point in your e-Learning course. Just like in an essay, you want to grab your audience’s attention right from the beginning. In addition to creating interest, the introduction should also give a preview of what’s to come—in e-Learning terms, that’s your learning objectives. The introduction sets the tone for the rest of your e-Learning course, so make sure you perfect it!
  • Use an outline.
    Outlines might have been a pain to do in Writing 101, but you have some more creative freedom now. If you don’t want to outline your e-Learning course, storyboard it out! This blog can provide a few tips: Storyboarding Online Training Courses with Your Team. Whatever method you choose, creating an organized plan of your overall course before you begin development will save you a lot of time and money in the end.
  • Tell a story for engagement.
    People love stories—from your Writing 101 narrative to the latest movie in theaters to the story you weave into your e-Learning course, stories are a sure way to engage an audience. One great way to use a story in your course is to illustrate a concept. By placing your learner in the employee’s shoes (the character in your story), you’ll make the course much more engaging. For more information on successful storytelling, read this blog post: Techniques for Developing Your e-Learning Narrative Flow.
  • Break up large chunks of content.
    In writing, we do this with paragraphs, subheads or chapters. In online training you can break up your content into different learning segments, whether it’s switching from formal to informal learning or using interaction to allow learners to respond to the content they’ve learned. Adding knowledge checks and quizzes at several points throughout the course will also help readers absorb information in small segments. You could also use humor to break up content and provide a brief stress-relieving break. Check out this blog post for tips on using humor successfully: The Dos and Don’ts of Using Humor in e-Learning.
  • Capitalize on the conclusion.
    Like the introduction, the conclusion of an essay—or in this case, your e-Learning
    course—is extremely important. The end of your course is your chance to reinforce key content by reminding people how they completed the objectives throughout your course. For example, you could use a visual to summarize, like a chart or diagram. You could also use a scenario to apply what they’ve learned to a real-life situation. Another way to end your course is with a discussion, which not only reinforces key content but also creates interaction among your learners.

Don’t forget these lessons from Writing 101. You’ll need them for the next e-Learning course you develop!

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Christie graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University with a bachelor's degree in English and Writing. When she's not writing about e-Learning, Christie enjoys traveling or playing piano and guitar.

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