5 Ways To Create Engaging eLearning Content
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How To Create Engaging eLearning Content

When we’re creating eLearning content, we start with words. We note down our ideas and objectives. Then, we mold this into a piece of content for people to read. But that ‘molding’ part is easier said than done. When it comes to eLearning content, you’ve got to condense your wealth of knowledge into easily digestible bites, without compromising your authority. In this article, I’ll walk you through 5 approaches you should take if you want to write content that gets your audience hooked.

1. Start With A Question

Great content is all about the planning and preparation. Start by thinking about, and reading around, your topic. You might fire up a brainstorming app like Milanote to get your ideas in one place. Then, you can start removing the bad ideas and focus on what you want your article to be about. Your first priority should be to try to identify the questions we want our content to answer. These questions should be the ideas your audience does not understand yet but must have accepted by the time they’re finished reading. Any unanswered question is a barrier to learning. Get this right, and the rest will follow.

2. Make Content Easy To Scan

Your readers didn’t come to you to read essays, they came to learn. Badly presented articles will instantly anger and frustrate them. Instead of bogging readers down with walls of text, use subheadings, bulleted lists, and images to break up the text, and keep your sentences and paragraphs as short as possible.

Start by breaking your articles up into sections separated by clear headings. This means readers will be able to skip straight to the information they need. When writing for the web, this doesn’t mean making headings bold—you’ll need to use appropriate heading tags. For example, the heading for this section ‘Making content easy to scan’ is tagged H2. You’ll be able to find these in the ‘text formatting’ menu of most text editors. These will not only make your headings bigger but also add a bit of spacing around your text, making everything so much clearer.

3. Edit Judiciously

When you’ve got your article into neat little sections, it’s time to refine the text itself. This will help make your content clear and powerful. We’ll be cleaning up all the unnecessary text that distracts learners from your lesson. You might want to give yourself a head start with an app like Hemingway—it’s a great tool that highlights all the long, complicated phrases and sentences you’ve written. Or, you could try speaking your text out loud—you’ll know right away if what you’ve written sounds unnatural or not. If you’re having trouble writing alternatives, check out Monzo’s writing guide—it’s full of useful advice about making every word count.

4. Address People Like People

Often, people who don’t have much writing practice produce articles that make them sound like a robot, even if they don’t speak that way normally. That’s because most of our writing experience comes from when we were in education or in a business setting. We’re trained to write formally, in the passive voice with long words sprinkled here and there. So, how do you break the spell? Start by picturing your reader in your head as you write. You should follow the mantra I got drilled into me when I worked in knowledge management: "keep everything in plain English, avoiding jargon whenever possible".

Remember: You're writing to teach your readers something they don’t already know, don’t assume anything and, more importantly, ditch any technical language.

5. Show As Well As Tell

Using images or videos in your content allows you to show as well as tell your readers—removing the need for long instructions or having to write word descriptions. Used properly, you’ll be able to explain complex ideas simply and effectively.

When it comes to images, you should opt for screenshots and infographics to support your content. Try to avoid putting images in for the sake of it, or to make things look nicer. Yes, that means no stock photos. But when it comes to video, you can get a bit more creative. Using apps like Loom, you can quickly record yourself explaining a point in more detail or running through an anecdote that backs up your content. This’ll make your content a lot more fun to read.

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