Rewrite to Bring Clarity

Last week we wrote about answering the right question and removing clutter.  This week it’s about taking a step back and looking at your content again with fresh eyes. 

What’s the aim of your learning content?  And how can you simplify your writing to achieve your aim?  

Simplicity is hard to achieve

Shane Parrish suggests that even Charles Darwin found it hard to express himself clearly and concisely.  Darwin wrote down his ideas quickly, and then went back to them again and again.

A structured revision process When you give your ideas time to form, you give yourself an opportunity to make your training clearer.  So write your content over several days.  

And don’t stop writing after you think you’ve covered the objective of the learning.  Revisit your learning topic to deepen your understanding.  Branch out to follow different threads of thought.

              “You can understand anything better than you currently are.”               Edward B Burger and Michael Starbird.  

Organise Construct your modlettes to answer one simple question.  Your learning objective.   When writing eLearning to answer complex questions … turn to organisation.

              “Organisation makes a system of many appear forever”             John Maeda  

Think about a book.  Each chapter of a book answers one simple question.  Together, these chapters answer a bigger question.  

You can apply a similar principle to your written eLearning narrative.  

First, create a series of sections answering the simple questions.  Then create a section that shows a collection of these questions … show how you break down a complex question into smaller questions.  Such content is called cornerstone content.

Draw pictures When I have trouble working out how to present a topic I go back to my old style mindmapping.  Even this simple freehand exercise can help clarify my thoughts.  

I have used mind maps for most of my time as a trainer to clarify my thinking and simplify my written and classroom presentations.  

How to communicate with power and clarity Learning to write well means learning to think well.  And that means re-learning how to ask questions.  Remember when you were young, and kept driving your parents mad with questions.    

Look at the world again with fresh eyes.  Be a child again.  Learn to be comfortable with not knowing the answers, and you’ll discover new and fresh ideas.  

Follow your curiosity That’s how you learn more and enrich your life.