Writing text for online learning

Before turning to more animated online tools, it is worth considering the way you might use written text in your training. For online training, using a lot of continuous text is not advisable because reading from a screen is tiring and can rapidly become boring. However, providing summaries or supporting material in text can be helpful, especially if there are problems of intermittent or limited internet connection.

If you are asking your learners to read material from a screen rather than a printed page there are some subtle ways you can vary your writing style that can make the learning experience more enjoyable for the participants and more likely that they will engage with the material and learn from it.

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Write in short sections, using sub-headings. Use photos, diagrams, cartoons and other images, and design features like bulleted lists, tables, boxes and quotations to break up the text and make it easier to digest.

Remember, online learners can feel isolated so you can help by using a friendly tone and conversational language in your writing style, addressing the learner as ‘you’ and relate the training to their own circumstances.

You can also include short questions that will make the learner pause and think before they move on. Providing answers to these questions can be affirming for the learner if they have come up with a similar answer themselves but this method can also encourage those who may be less confident.

Repurposing and extending slide presentations