Photo by: athree23 via Pixabay
Have you ever read a novel that was so riveting you simply couldn’t put it down? I would hope that most of us have had that experience. Alternatively, most of us have also read work-related material that did not have the same effect. In fact, sometimes we need to read a paragraph several times before uncovering its true meaning. Instructional designers and trainers are consistently challenged to translate complex content into simple, clear, concise language for the learner.
The world of writing is quite vast, incorporating the literary, academic, and technical worlds. Having a background in the arts, my exposure to writing was primarily drama and poetry—literary. When my career transitioned into training, I had to learn how to write for training—technical. I later discovered that how I write creatively is quite distinct from how I write as a trainer or instructional designer.
In our one-day workshop, Writing Skills for Trainers, we strategically guide you through a four-step process to develop your skills to write in a clear, concise, compliant manner. A technical writing approach is critical when writing for training. The following is a snapshot of the four-step process:
1. Determine Content – In this step it is important to be clear about the purpose of what you are writing and who you are writing it for. Ask yourself, “What questions and concerns must I address in this document?” “What learner characteristics will affect my writing?” “What do the learners need to know?”
2. Structure Materials – Once the content has been determined, you want to identify what materials will be created (e.g. handouts, job aids, manuals, lesson plans, etc.), their purpose, and their format (e.g. checklist, worksheet, flowchart, etc.).
3. Write Content – In this step the focus is on the rules of grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Ask yourself, “Have I started sentences with action verbs?” “Have I avoided passive sentence construction and commonly misused words?” “Have I checked that I wrote the materials to the reading level of the user?”
4. Adapt Style – The final step offers an opportunity to refine your personal writing style. The goal is to eliminate clichés and overused expressions, define all technical terms, ensure inclusive language is used, check for clear and concise writing, and so on.
If you would like to take a deeper dive into these four steps and learn to write in a simple, clear, concise manner, join us in the next writing skills workshop! Hope to see you there real soon!