How To Effectively Proofread Your eLearning Course
Let’s be perfectly honest; proofreading isn’t the most enjoyable thing in the world. You’ve spent so much time with your eLearning course at this point that looking over it yet again may just push you over the edge. However, it is a necessary part of eLearning design and development process. The good news is that there are ways to speed up the proofreading process and make it more efficient.
- Create the ideal proofreading ambiance.
Find a quiet spot, free of any distractions, and set the right proofreading mood. The point is to put yourself in the right frame of mind so that you are able to spot the mistakes and polish your eLearning course to perfection. Resist the urge to check your email or peruse social media sites. Also, take frequent breaks so that you don’t wear yourself out.
- Be on the lookout for common mistakes.
We all have little quirks that seem to crop up when we create eLearning content. Maybe you have a problem with tenses, or those pesky commas always get in your way. Whatever the case may be, be aware of the mistakes you commonly make and be on the lookout for them when you want to proofread your eLearning course. You may also want to keep a running list of recurring errors that you can use for future eLearning courses. For example, if there are five improper usages of plurals, then you can pay careful attention to the plural words the next time around.
- Read the eLearning content aloud.
Read the eLearning content out loud to catch any mistakes you may have missed when skimming the text. When we say words aloud we are able to find “stumbling blocks”, such as typos and punctuation errors. If you are reading a sentence and it seems long winded, you know that a comma is probably in order. It can also help you ensure that the flow of your eLearning course is on-point. For example, a sentence that seems perfectly fine when you’re silently reading the eLearning course may sound completely unnatural when you read it out loud.
- Let it simmer.
Step away from the eLearning course for a day, if possible, then come back to it and do your final proofread. This gives you the opportunity to get some distance from the material, so that you can look at it with fresh eyes and you are less likely to remember every word you’ve written. If a full day is not feasible, then at least let it simmer for an hour or two so that you can regroup.
- Begin at the end.
Start at the end of the eLearning course and work your way backwards when proofreading. Doing so essentially tricks your brain into thinking that it’s new content, as you are reading through the eLearning course in the reverse order in which it was written. This gives you the ability to catch more errors by catching your mind off guard. For example, your brain might automatically correct a typo if you read through the eLearning course from the beginning, but it may detect it when moving backward.
- Don’t trust the spellchecker.
Unfortunately, the spellchecker is not to be trusted. It can, on occasion, miss typos or simply overlook words that are spelled correctly but used improperly. For instance, your finger might slip when you’re trying to spell “loud”, resulting in “load”. The spellchecker won’t catch this when you do your final edits, but it will still take away from the overall quality of your eLearning course. Go through the eLearning content with a fine-toothed comb to catch errors with the most effective spellchecking tool at your disposal; your brain.
- Enlist the aid of a fresh set of eyes.
No matter how long you let the eLearning course sit before proofreading, it is still your eLearning course and you are still familiar with every line of text. This is why it’s essential to have a friend or colleague proofread it for you. It’s all new to them, which means that they will be able to catch the errors that your mind skipped right over. As an added bonus, they can also let you know if there are any items you should omit or include to make the eLearning course more effective.
- The dictionary is your friend.
There are plenty of online dictionaries that you can use to proofread your eLearning course. Or, if you prefer to look your words up the old-fashioned way, have an actual dictionary at-the-ready. If there’s a word that is questionable, look it up to verify that you’re using it in the right context. You can also see if there are other words that might fit into the eLearning content more snugly. A thesaurus is another invaluable tool for proofreaders, especially if you want to add some vocabulary variety to your eLearning course and avoid repetition.
As the famous Dr. Seuss once said, “So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads”. Take the time to proofread your eLearning course now, so that your learners can get the most out of their eLearning experience later.
Ready to give your eLearning course one last glance before you click that “publish” button? Before you do, read the article Post-Course Evaluation: 15 Aspects That eLearning Professionals Need To Check to find out about the 15 things you need to check during the post-course evaluation of your eLearning course.