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How to Write an E-Learning Course With a High Learning Impact

Photo of a man in a black long-sleeved shirt at a desk, hands on his laptop as he looks intently at the screen.
Writing an e-learning course with a high impact is all about reader-centered writing that is clear and concise. (Photo: Pexels)

Writing an e-learning course is more than simply having knowledge of a subject and jotting it down. A lot of details go into making sure your course has as high a learning impact as possible.

E-learning courses have developed a reputation for getting straight to the point, cutting jargon to a minimum, and omitting pointless discourse. They distill the subject matter down to its essence. This type of writing process isn’t as easy as it sounds.

When you’re writing an e-learning course, your main goal is to minimize readers’ time interpreting your content and maximize their time retaining it.

Here are eight tips for writing an e-learning course with a high learning impact.

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1. Create Compelling Titles

The titles of your content should be as intriguing as possible—but, more importantly, they should tell the reader what to expect and provide structure to your course.

The main title sets the tone for the whole course, and your chapter titles set the reader up for what to expect next.

Choose which types of titles suit your content. There are titles that:

  • Identify a Need: Some of the most compelling titles identify a need and propose a remedy. For example, “From Broke to Financially Confident.”
  • Are Intriguing: Humans are naturally curious beings, and your titles should play into that instinct. For example, “Smarter, Faster, Better.”
  • State the Content: Keep it simple and state precisely what the course or chapter is. For example, “The Experts’ Guide to Email Marketing.”
  • Are Compound Titles: Use a colon in your titles and put the most meaningful words on the left, which draws attention to the terms on the right. For example, “Stock Market Riches: The Ultimate Guide to Picking Winners.”

2. Make Your E-Learning Course Easily Readable

Your learners will be on their computers or mobile devices, which means they will be more easily distracted.

In fact, e-learners read 10.7% slower than book learners, comprehend less, and skim less efficiently. E-learners like to skim instead of reading, which means, in addition to writing compelling titles, you will need to break up your course content into digestible pieces. This is called “chunking.”

Some tips to keep in mind when chunking:

  • Break up large ideas into smaller sections with subtitles, bullet-point lists, timelines, and numbered lists.
  • Keep subjects independent and have a title for each one, which allows for easy finding and aids skimming.
  • Number your main headings even if you don’t have a number in your title.
  • Prioritize the information by starting with strong main points and then getting more specific as you continue.
  • Each new topic should be on a separate page or screen.

Also, consider using a clean, easy-to-read sans serif typeface like Helvetica and Arial.

“At its essence, e-learning is mostly about reading, and if what you’re offering is visually confusing or hard to read, then your material simply fails to deliver,” notes SHIFT, an e-learning solutions provider.

Don’t Miss: What You Need to Know About Writing for Web vs. Print

Chart with title "Keep E-Learning Readable or Don't Bother Using Text at All." The subhead of the chart says: "How to Improve Readability." The chart suggests the following: use contrast, font sizes, use white space, break it up (meaning to break up paragraphs), and alignment (meaning the text should align properly). The chart is from SHIFT.
(Chart: SHIFT)

3. Use Simple Language

As mentioned before, e-learners don’t read as efficiently on their screens as they would on paper, meaning you need to present your information as clearly as possible.

  • Write in short, complete sentences and use concise language that simplifies the content instead of complicating it.
  • Try not to write your e-learning course to show how smart you are. You don’t want to talk down to your audience. Instead, you want to humbly offer your readers your course’s insights.
  • Don’t use jargon or complex, advanced words. Your readers will get annoyed if they can’t understand what you’re saying and will look elsewhere for information.

4. Know Your Audience

Knowing your readers is essential to writing an e-learning course with a high impact.

For example, if your audience is already very knowledgeable on the subject you’re teaching, they might be OK with using complex, advanced words.

The more you know about your audience, the easier it will be to shape your course to resonate with the most people.

Some questions to consider:

  • What level of knowledge on the subject does your audience have?
  • What are the demographics of your target audience, such as age, race, education, and location?
  • Which informational material and multimedia will be the most effective for your audience?

Answering these questions will help you keep a clear goal in mind for constructing your course and steer you away from irrelevant topics.

This is a chart titled "Demographics vs. Psychographics." The subheading says "Combine them for your buyer persona." Under the Demographics column, the list is: "Single; Male; 35 years old; Works at Company XYZ Inc.; IT professional; Makes $110,000 per year; Lives in Boston area." Under the Psychographics column the list is: "Dog lover; Green Party; Comic Con fan; Takes beach vacations; Loves K-Pop music; Prefers plant-based foods; Values family bonds." Chart by Super Copy Editors.

There are a lot of little spelling, grammar, and punctuation mistakes that can happen when writing something as sprawling and complex as an e-learning course. Plus, you’ll need an outside perspective to make sure your course is readable and impactful for your learners.

Your best bet is to trust the experts at Super Copy Editors. We are the worry-free copy editing team for education companies. Our goal is to help ensure your course content is the best it can be.

5. Make Your E-Learning Course Flow

Not only will you want to make your course easy to read, but you will also want to make it flow smoothly from one topic to the next. Readers can get turned off and disengage if there are sudden jumps from one section to the next.

First, you will want to structure your topics in a way that makes sense to your learners and allows them to follow your thought process seamlessly.

Second, in your writing, you will want to incorporate the following:

  • Use number words or order words such as “first,” “next,” “furthermore,” and “finally” to present a sequence of ideas.
  • Implement casual connectors such as “since,” “therefore,” and “consequently.”
  • Try contrast connectors such as “however,” “on the other hand,” and “on the contrary” when writing about a problem and solution.

6. Use the Active Voice

Writing an e-learning course with a high impact is all about reader-centered writing that is clear and concise. Your course should engage your learners, not bore them with endless factoids or feel drawn out and endless.

An excellent way to avoid those traps and keep learners engaged is to use the active voice.

Active voice means your sentence has a subject that acts upon a verb. For example, “The author wrote an award-winning book last year.”

In contrast, the passive voice sounds like this: “An award-winning book was written by the author.” (See how boring that sounds?)

The active voice emphasizes the subject, while the passive voice emphasizes the action and devalues the subject. Because you’re writing about a subject, it’s vital that you use the active voice.

Don’t Miss: How to Make Educational Writing Stronger

7. Use Video and Images

Using multimedia in your e-learning course will help keep your readers engaged. People are more responsive to visual images than words because the human brain is hardwired to process images faster.

Implementing video, images, and other multimedia can also break up walls of text that leave the reader feeling drained. They will reengage the brain, and you can use them to further explain ideas, especially complicated ones.

Different people have different learning styles, and giving them both words and images allows for a deeper and more inclusive understanding of your content.

Charts and graphs like the ones below are also excellent visual aids for e-learning courses:

This is a chart showing 20 different types of charts and graphs. Shown are: pie chart, column chart, histogram, graph, area chart, bar chart, gauge chart, bubble chart, donut chart, scatter chart, treetop, stock analysis, polar diagram, table, Gantt chart, financial analysis, org chart, combo chart, mind map, and Venn diagram.
(Illustration: Shutterstock)

Here are a few tips for using charts and graphs in your e-learning course:

  • Flow charts are helpful for readers to visualize a multistep process.
  • Pie charts are excellent for displaying percentages.
  • Vertical bar graphs can show changes over time.

Be careful not to overload your course with too many of these visual elements, though.

“Before launching your e-learning course, evaluate every multimedia component and ask whether it should be in your e-learning course design,” advises TalentLMS“Does it support the learning objectives? Does it serve a function, or are you just using it to enhance the aesthetics?

Don’t forget! Download “How to Write an E-Learning Course With a High Learning Impact” to keep it handy and take action on it. Click here to download it now.

8. Get a Copy Editor to Review Your E-Learning Course

Editing and proofreading are essential to the success of your course. Even the most prolific and knowledgeable writers have their work reviewed by professional editors before sharing it with the public.

Grammar, punctuation, spelling, readability, and more need to be perfect if your course is to be a success.

If you prefer to proofread your e-learning course yourself, here are some tips:

  • Read it aloud so you can hear the errors.
  • Be sure to run it through a spell-check program.
  • Have a friend (or multiple people) read it and point out any errors or omissions.
This is a pull-quote graphic that says: "Keep it simple. Write in short, complete sentences. Make multiple edits, cut out the fluff, and keep the essential material. You can do this. By Super Copy Editors."

Final Thoughts

Writing an e-learning course is more complicated than simply having a deep understanding of the subject matter.

You need to convey your thoughts and the information in an easy-to-understand and digestible way to your readers.

But, most importantly, keep it simple. Make multiple edits, cut out the fluff, keep the essential material, and have a professional service edit and proofread your e-learning course.

The professional proofreaders and editors at Super Copy Editors will provide you with the expert service you’ll need to ensure your online learning course is the best it can be. We have years of experience working with course creators to ensure their educational content is well written, grammatically correct, and easy to follow.

Let Super Copy Editors do the heavy lifting of proofreading and editing to get the best version of your e-learning course so you can leave a lasting impact on your learners and keep them coming back for more. Get your free quote today.

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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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