Proofreading and Editing Your eLearning Course
Let's face it, editing eLearning courses can be a pain, not to mention the fact it is absolutely necessary. Without a thorough round of proofreading, chances are the finished eLearning deliverable just isn't going to be an accurate representation of your talent or expertise. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to make the process less time consuming and more productive, so that you can turn in top notch eLearning deliverables every time.
- Be aware of the mistakes you commonly make.
Each of us has our strong points. However, there are also weaknesses that we possess which can lead to recurrent mistakes in our eLearning courses. For example, if spelling isn't necessarily our strong suit, we may find that there are a variety of spelling mistakes throughout our content. This is why it's important to be aware of the mistakes you commonly make, so that you can be on the lookout for them as you proofread and edit your eLearning course. While it's important to focus on all aspects of your eLearning course when you're preparing it for submission, it's always worthwhile to pay extra close attention to the areas that may need a bit more polishing.
- Remember that proofreading involves multiple steps not just one quick read.
In order to find all errors and make sure your writing is concise and clear, you're going to need to proofread it multiple times. In fact, you may want to break the process up into smaller editing and proofreading sessions, so that you don't become overwhelmed by the task and don't miss crucial mistakes. It may be wise to set aside time in your schedule for different parts of the eLearning course. For example, you can devote an hour on Monday to editing the first module, and then another hour on Wednesday to the second. This will give you the opportunity to take your time, while still increasing your eLearning productivity. Keep in mind that it's a process that can't be rushed, but is well worth all of the time and effort you put in.
- Trim down lengthy sentences to make them concise.
As you go through your eLearning course, pay careful attention to not only what it is written, but also how it's been presented. Remember that cognitive overload is typically an issue if you are dealing with lengthy blocks of text. So, keep things short and simple. If you notice any run-on sentences that may cause learner confusion, then trim them down. If there is an abundance of information that you need to cover, use bullet points to make it more digestible.
- Read the content aloud.
While you are proofreading your eLearning course, you'll probably want to read it aloud at least once. Something may look good on the screen, but you may discover that it's confusing or ambiguous when you read it aloud. You may even want to try recording yourself reading it and then play it back while you scan the text. This can help you to ensure that the content flows well and that the pace is smooth.
- Don't rely on spell check to catch all of the errors.
In a perfect world, the spell and grammar checking tools would catch every error in your eLearning course. However, since this isn't the case, you'll want to go over your entire eLearning course thoroughly in order to catch any errors that these tools have missed. While this can be time consuming, it can also make a world of difference in the quality of your finished eLearning deliverable. If you don't have the time to do this step yourself, then you may want to delegate the task or even hire an editor to go through it with a fine-toothed comb to fix any remaining spelling and grammar mistakes.
- Set the project aside before giving it one last read.
You need to put some distance between you and the eLearning course itself, especially if you've been working on it for quite some time. So, it's often best to set it aside for a day or two before giving it one final proofread. This will allow you to look at it with fresh eyes and catch any errors that you may have missed during previous readings. Also, if at all possible, try to get someone else to proofread it as well. It's difficult to be objective about work that you've created, and letting someone else proofread it may help you to strengthen weak points and catch errors that you tend to make on a regular basis.
- Don't wait until the day of the deadline.
For those who have a tendency to wait until the last minute to edit, this last tip for editing your eLearning course may prove to be quite challenging. If you wait until the day of the deadline to do your editing and proofreading, chances are that you're going to miss errors and, more importantly, have to deal with unnecessary stress and worry. Try to get the vast majority of your editing done at least a couple days in advance. Then, you can take your time looking over it one last time before you send it off. Also, if you find that you don't have extra time to spare on the day of the deadline, you can have the peace of mind of knowing that all of your editing has already been taken care of.
Taking the time to proofread and edit your eLearning course can help to ensure that it offers the most value to your audience and surpasses the expectations of your clients. Just remember that your portfolio is only as strong as your least polished project, so always be sure to check, then double check, every aspect of your eLearning course before its submission.
Knowing which mistakes to look out for can help you to make the proofreading process even less stressful and more productive. The article Writing Mistakes to Look for When Proofreading Your e-Learning Course highlights 8 common writing mistakes that you'll want to be aware of when proofreading your next eLearning deliverable.
In addition, in the article Ultimate eLearning Course Design Checklist you will find a comprehensive "must-have" eLearning checklist for your eLearning projects?