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E-Learning Content Creation: How to Proofread and Edit for Maximum Impact

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Creating content for e-learning? Learn more about how to proofread and edit your material for a better learning experience.

E-learning content creation isn’t just about good writing.

Creating effective educational content involves an entire process from concept to completion. Yes, writing an e-learning course is the first step, but the magic happens when it’s time to proofread and edit for the highest quality possible.

The result? You’ll leave a lasting impact on your learners and keep them coming back for more.

Here are some expert tips to help you proofread your e-learning content like a pro.

In a rush? Get this article as a PDF guide so you won’t miss these tips!

Editing for Active Voice

Writing in the passive voice is not unusual because of the way people think. As content creators write out their thoughts, those thoughts can frequently come out as passive. So when you’re editing, be on the lookout for passive voice and change it to active voice.

Let’s look at these two sentences that you might find in an e-learning course about art.

Which one do you think is better?

  • The Starry Night was painted by Vincent van Gogh.”
  • “Vincent van Gogh painted The Starry Night.”

If you said the second one, the reason is because it’s written in active voice.

Active voice makes things easier to understand because it puts the writing “in the moment” for the reader, which is why the second sentence is stronger. It’s more straightforward than the first sentence, making it easier to understand.

Active voice is a great choice for almost any type of writing, especially e-learning, because the information is easier to understand. If it seems complex, learners won’t be as happy—they may think the writing is dull.

Small photo of a yawning polar bear.
Bear-ly awake

SNOOZE ALERT!

If any of your sentences start like this, consider rewriting them to active voice:

  • It has been suggested that…
  • It is said that…
  • It was demonstrated that…
  • They are said to be…
  • It is thought that…
  • It is expected that…
  • It is believed that…
  • There have been…

Proofreading for Clarity

One unofficial rule in writing says it’s better to be clear than to be clever.

As fun as it can be to write something clever, if there’s a chance that your audience won’t understand it, it’s better to avoid it. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be creative.

Writing for e-learning doesn’t mean you’re supposed to be dry or boring. It just means you need to write clearly so learners understand what you’re saying.

You may have the best content ever created, but if it’s too clever for your learners, you’ll frustrate them.

When you proofread and edit for clarity, look at your content with a critical eye. If you can ask someone else to look it over, do so and get their feedback. If they mention that something is hard to understand, make the necessary improvements.

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This is an image of a quote that says: "Writing for e-learning doesn’t mean you’re supposed to be dry or boring. It just means you need to write clearly so learners understand what you’re saying."

Proofread and Edit for Consistency

Being consistent is critical when you’re teaching something, especially during e-learning content creation since the course takers can’t simply ask you questions.

What do I mean by consistent? You can’t say one thing and then, a few sentences or pages later, say something that’s different or contradicts what you’ve already said.

For example, if you suggest that Greek architecture incorporates aspects of Roman architecture and then state that Greeks did not adopt Roman influences, that is an apparent contradiction.

You might mean that Roman influences appear only in certain places, but you’ll need to make this clear to your readers.

Grammar, Spelling, and Punctuation

Consistency also includes grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

You may recognize the Oxford comma and know about the debate over whether or not it should be used. Choosing to use the Oxford comma isn’t inherently incorrect (personally, I love it), but make sure it’s consistent if you do use it.

Another thing to pay attention to happens in formatting.

Here’s an example. When you’re writing, you may have straight or “curly” quotation marks or apostrophes. For the sake of consistency, you’ll want to make sure those are all done in the same style—preferably curly.

Spelling can also catch you off guard. You may be a stellar speller, but everyone occasionally misses a space or a letter. To see spelling errors or missing words, read your work aloud. Doing so helps you recognize that the letter or word you thought was there might not be.

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E-learning content creation is no small task, and your reputation can rise and fall based on the accuracy of the material you present to your learners.

Point of View and Tone

If you’re writing from a first-person, second-person, or third-person point of view, you’ll want to maintain consistency.

Here are examples of each:

  • First Person: “When I research ancient Sumerian history, I must take note of how society grows and then collapses over time.”
  • Second Person: “When you research ancient Sumerian history, take note of how society grows and then collapses over time.”
  • Third Person: “When researching ancient Sumerian history, students must take note of the way society grows and then collapses over time.”

The first two sentences are more informal and conversational, whereas the third sentence is more academic and formal. Depending on your course, one may be a better option than the other, but you want to maintain a consistent point of view for whichever you choose.

Think about how you might talk to someone. In certain situations, the way you speak to someone is more conversational and friendly. Other times, you might need to sound more formal and authoritative.

During e-learning content creation, it’s not unusual to charge ahead and simply write things as they come to you. As a result, your voice and tone may be all over the place. When it’s time to proofread and edit, make sure you use the same tone and point of view consistently throughout the course content.

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Proofreading for Accuracy

E-learning content creation is no small task, and your reputation can rise and fall based on the accuracy of the material you present to your learners.

If you write something you think is true and base it on what you remember, you might not be exactly accurate.

You need to fact-check yourself as part of your proofreading and editing. If you write down something as a fact, don’t just rely on your memory to be accurate. Perhaps you’ve heard of the Mandela effect.

Examples include:

  • Berenstain Bears (correct) vs. Berenstein Bears (incorrect)
  • Ed McMahon giving out checks for Publishers Clearing House (he didn’t)
  • Sinbad as Shazaam (didn’t happen)

Many people will swear up and down that some or all of these things are true because they remember them happening.

The truth is, none of these things actually happened. This is simple proof that human memory is fallible, so always check your facts for accuracy.

Don’t forget! Download “E-Learning Content Creation: How to Proofread and Edit for Maximum Impact” to keep it handy and take action on it. Click here to download it now.

Consider Everything Critically

You’ve finished writing your e-learning course and feel accomplished, and that’s an excellent first step. Now comes the next critical phase—the proofreading and the editing.

The list of things to look for can be overwhelming, but if you take it one step at a time, you’ll be fine.

  • Remember to check for active voice and change passive voice as necessary.
  • Clarity over clever turns of phrase is also important, so you’ll want to adjust those moments as necessary.
  • You’ll also want to ensure you’re consistent in your facts, grammar, punctuation, point of view, and tone.
  • Finally, don’t forget to fact-check the information for accuracy.

If proofreading or editing isn’t your strong point or you don’t want to take the time to do it yourself, Super Copy Editors can help. Our expert, experienced proofreading team will give you the peace of mind that comes with knowing your e-learning content is error-free, professionally polished, and ready to dazzle your learners. Get your quick, free quote now.

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Dave Baker

View posts by Dave Baker
Hi, I’m Dave Baker, founder and copy chief of Super Copy Editors. I have more than 25 years of professional proofreading and copy editing experience, including work for The Nation magazine, The New York Times, and The Times-Picayune of New Orleans, where I shared two staff Pulitzer Prizes. At Super Copy Editors, we’re passionate about helping agencies, marketing teams, and education companies refine and polish their text to give them confidence and ensure success. Learn more here.

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