Scenarios: the good, the bad, and the preachy

Decision-making scenarios work best when they require realistic decisions and avoid preaching. This post turns a typical fact-regurgitation into a more realistic scenario that helps learners practice making decisions in nuanced situations. Read more

Less text, more learning

Do stakeholders want to add text to your materials? Here’s one study you can use to show how wordiness can hurt learning. The study compared three lessons about the same weather process. All lessons used the same illustrations but varied in the number of words. The lesson with the fewest words resulted in the most […]

Why you do not want to sound like a robot

“We shouldn’t use contractions because then people won’t take the content seriously.” Sound familiar? Or maybe you’ve heard this: “We shouldn’t use contractions because they’re confusing for people who speak English as a second language.” The result of these beliefs can be robotic chanting like the paragraph that you are reading now. I will not […]

How to get everyone to write like Ernest Hemingway

Probably everyone on your team agrees that elearning should be concise and lively. But does everyone agree on what “concise and lively” looks like? Here’s one way to get everyone on the same stylistic page. Quantify, quantify When we talk about writing style, we can get bogged down in personal preferences that are hard to […]

How to recognize elearning bloat

When stakeholders think every detail is equally important, the result can be bloated elearning. This hilarious YouTube video shows what I mean. To fight the enemy, we have to see it My favorite writing teacher used parody to help us recognize and remove bloat. Here’s a small example. The following statement is sort of Apple […]

5 ways to make linear navigation more interesting

This slideshow is an attempt to help people make the best of a limiting design. Regular readers know that I’m no fan of the Next button. (Are you new here? Try Why you really want to be short or Visual menus: Structure with style). Thanks to Erik Wallen–his comment on Is a course really the […]

Makeover: Turn objectives into motivators

“No one reads the objectives.” If that’s true, maybe it’s because we tend to write objectives in TrainerSpeak. In this makeover we’ll turn some conventional objectives into goals that learners care about. Let’s say that the following objectives appear at the beginning of a course for customer service representatives (CSRs). You’re a CSR. How do […]

Makeover: Teen body parts at risk!

Here’s the first in a sporadic series of makeovers. I’ll grab some elearning that might need perking up, add some perk, and put it here for you to critique. The first sample comes from the US government, which published Teen Worker Safety in Restaurants. There’s a lot to the site, but I’ll focus on just […]

Can you answer these 6 questions about multiple-choice questions?

1. I opened a course on a topic I know nothing about, clicked through without reading anything, and took the assessment. I passed! What does that suggest? I am a genius! The assessment was too easy. Maybe the course was too easy, too. Maybe the course didn’t even need to be written. b, c, and […]