When writing for learning our toolbox is limited.
We can’t use body language
We can’t shout!
We can’t even bang on the table to add weight to the message.
We only have our words to communicate our message with passion.
But written words can be powerful.
Want to learn how?
Step #1: Write with clarity and substance
How can you hold a learner’s attention if you use weak writing that rambles, rattles and prattles?
Writing with substance is not about writing longer articles with longer words.
It’s not about the word count.
Its not about putting in every little detail about the task we are trying to teach.
The opposite is true.
Often long written spells lack substance, too many unimportant ideas compete for the learner’s attention.
Substance is about adding value, exceeding the learners value expectations and moving beyond the echo chamber of repetition.
So how do you write with substance?
Step #2: Boost your authority with these content ideas
Focusing on a narrow topic may feel scary. Do you have enough content? Will your training module seem flimsy?
No time to panic.
And don’t start adding stuff and semi-related trains of thought.
Instead, use the content thoughts below to turn flimsy into persuasive and authorative content
Examples demonstrate how you translate theory into practice. Examples breathe life into your content by making abstract concepts concrete. Want an example? Learning Conversations
Statistics are not everybody’s cup of tea. A Some find them boring.
But it’s a mistake to ignore numbers. Because numbers add substance to an argument. They show you know your subject. They make your material more factual.
“Research by Xero Group (2016) shows that only 37% of sales reps read emails that are sent to them”
Statistics boost your credibility and appeal to people’s rational side. But be careful: don’t let the numbers undermine the clarity of your message. Only add research results and other numbers if they help clarify your ideas.
Can’t find any statistics to support your statements?
Try using quotes from well-known experts. A quote shows you are familiar with other work in your field.
Strategically selected quotes support your teaching. They help you “borrow” other people’s authority to support your own.
Step #3 : Inject power into your words
Does power make you think of dictators, bullies and other dominant personalities?
As Sally Hogshead explains in her book “How the World Sees You”, power lives on a spectrum. Power’s gentle side manifests itself in the parental nudge and in the sports coach, who motivates you to train harder.
Powerful training inspires learners to TAKE ACTION. Effective instructional writing encourages learners to want to implement the learning in the workplace.
Read this paragraph aloud:
"Your job as a trainer is not simply to write tutorials that share tips, facts, and advice.
A useful tip that is not implemented is like a riveting book that’s never opened.
It’s forgotten and useless.
Instead of acting solely like a trainer dishing out your training notes, you should become a mentor for your learners, a chief of your village, a leader of your tribe. You should fire up your tribe and jump-start their actions because your learners are waiting for you."
It feels somewhat flat, right? That is because the sentences are long and the final sentences use “you should” instead of the imperative.
The alternative version below is more inspirational because it uses shorter sentences and the imperative form (“Fire up your tribe” instead of “You should fire up your trial”.)
"Your job as a trainer is not simply to write tutorials.
Your job is not to share tips and facts and advice.
A useful training that’s not implemented is like a riveting book that’s never opened. It’s forgotten and useless.
You’re not simply a trainer. You’re a mentor for your learners, a chief of your village, a leader of your tribe. Come on. Fire up your tribe. Jump-start their actions.
Your learners are waiting for you."
Does that inspire you more?