Writing for eLearning

, , , | Colin Dawson

How to Write Great Learning More Quickly

Good examples make abstract learning points concrete so learners can understand your advice and apply it to their own situation.  In addition, they make the reading experience richer and more rewarding.

But searching for examples can take a lot of time, so today I will share 4 tactics to save time and produce a valuable Modlette with great, believable examples and much quicker.

  1. Create an archive

I’m not really good at filing or archiving things.  I tend to think “that’s interesting.  I’ll remember that for future use”.  Within no time the “interesting thing” has faded away and I’ve forgotten it until I see somebody else used it.   But I do highlight really interesting stuff and hope that I remember which book or magazine it was in.

If you want to adopt a more structured approach, it can help to brainstorm example ideas so you know what kind of examples and quotes to look out for, and you can tag them so they’re easy to find.  You can create a collection in a Word or Google document or use a tool like Evernote.

2. Use your imagination

Sometimes (more often than not), I make up examples.  For instance, when I want to explain the difference about features and benefits in a sales Modlette, I make up a story about a young salesperson in an audio store… how he baffled his customer with technical features, and how be became more persuasive when he translated those technical features into benefits that suited his customer’s needs. I could imagine that story happening as I’ve been to buy audio equipment and had conversations with young difficult sales people, but it was mostly made up.

My preference is to use real examples, but I don’t want to spend too much time on looking for good examples so if I don’t have them already available, and I can’t find them quickly, I make up my own.

3. Speed up your writing process

You can speed up your writing process a lot if you know which examples you want to use before you start writing your first draft.  The same is true for using quotes.  Of course, the writing process isn’t always that structured.  While writing your draft, you may be reminded of a quote you read somewhere that would perfectly fit in your narrative.  Or perhaps you may find that an example you had intended to use doesn’t fit as well as you had thought.  If that happens, don’t interrupt the writing process to look for another example as it’s easy to lose your train of thought and get distracted by other ideas.  That’s how it becomes hard to finish a first draft.

It's often much quicker to finalise your first draft, and just make notes where an example or quote is missing.  After you’ve written your first draft you can add the missing pieces.

4. Examples make your Modlette more memorable

Examples often linger in your learner’s minds.  After all, examples are the most vivid part of your training narrative.

So, it’s worth your effort to use these 4 tactics:

  1. Create an archive
  2. Use your imagination
  3. Speed up your writing process
  4. Use good examples
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