Friday, May 01, 2009

E-Learning Advice: Learn to write online content

After teaching hundreds of teachers to teach online, I've come to the conclusion that many won't learn how to chunk information on a page or write web friendly instructional materials based on simple modeling alone. I've assumed that seeing materials laid out in a web friendly manner, would cause e-learning teachers in training to to create materials using the principles outlined below.

Some catch on. They break text into clear short paragraphs. They use keyword headings, they write for scanning instead of deep reading.

However most don't get this seemingly simple idea. I hope this post helps more grasp the essentials of online writing!

    • 1. Write concisely and clearly.

        Because writing is a major, and sometime the only, channel of communication in an online class, the importance of clear and concise writing of the course materials cannot be over-emphasized. If one student finds a sentence unclear, the instructor will need to spend valuable additional time responding to clarify. Five or ten minutes of additional time for polishing a message or task instructions before distributing or publishing may save hours in clarifying later.

      • Writing for digital media is different from writing for print media. As pointed out in a Web writing guidebook “Hot Text: Web Writing That Works” (Price & Price, 2002), the text on screen is usually harder to read than on paper because of lower resolution and because the text appears and disappears in a moment as there can only be one page on screen at a time. Below is some of the advice from this book that relates most directly to online course material planning and creation.

        • Shorten the text:

        Cut any paper-based text by 50%;

        Make each paragraph short;

        Move vital but tangential or supplemental material to the sidebar;

        However, beware of cutting so far that you make the text ambiguous.

        • Make text scannable:

        Create a meaningful title;

        Insert meaningful headlines and subheads;

        Highlight key works, phrases, and links;

        Turn any series into a bulleted or numbered list.

ps: note to self: figure out how to make blogger fonts consistent! 8-)

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Diigo tags: time management, e-learning

1 comment:

maria05 said...

Thank you for the Tips online writing this will really help me a lot. especially in e-learning writing because i think most people are logged in into e-learning LMS. By the way, I have come across this site, it's related to LMS just found it out recently. you may check it out.

Online Learning