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When writing content for your online course, it’s easy to get carried away and include a ton of information that could easily overwhelm your students.
Courses that throw a lot of information at you without any interactivity or examples tend not to perform well with audiences.
Hence, in this post, we’ll go over some of the best content writing practices for online learning so that you can create a course that is engaging and brings value to your customers.
Keep Your Learning Outcomes in Mind
One very easy way to keep yourself on track when composing content for your online course is to keep the learning outcomes of your online course in mind.
It’s essential that you create clear goals and objectives for your course before you start to develop any content for it.
You may have already developed learning outcomes when you create your online course’s outline but if you haven’t, develop them first before writing any content.
Your learning outcomes and objectives must clearly state what your students will be able to do by the end of the online course.
- What skills will they have learned?
- What problems will they now know how to solve?
- What new knowledge or information will they have obtained?
Again, learning outcomes are not just for students to understand what they will be able to gain from your course but also, for you to keep yourself on track when developing content for it.
The real skill when developing online courses is not concerned with what information you can include but what information you choose to leave out.
Exclude any content that does not directly serve to achieve a learning outcome for your online course.
Only include information that hits your audience’s pain point and answers questions they might have.
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Write in Bite-Sized Chunks
When developing online courses, it’s usually a good practice to have as little text on the screen as possible.
The majority of the information being delivered to the audience should be coming from your audio narration while the content on the screen may just be summarizing your narration.
This allows your students to keep track of what’s being talked about while they absorb the information you’re stating.
Do NOT include everything you’re saying in your lecture slides. That’s a surefire way of putting your students to sleep.
Example of a concise slide
Include Tips Wherever You can
If you plan to go along with the same theme of providing bite-sized information, it’s often a good idea to include tips within every chapter or module of your online course.
Not only does this allow you to provide valuable information that only you or very few people know but it also keeps your students engaged.
When you write “Important Tip” or something along those lines followed by a short sentence, it pulls the student’s attention because:
- They feel they’re going to get some insider information or a way to do whatever process you want to teach more efficiently.
- Since it’ll just be a small sentence, it will be accessible and easy to digest for students.
While tips are strong tools you can use to increase the engagement of your online course, it’s important that you don’t overdo them.
A tip on every slide or every other slide is definitely not the way to go.
When you label everything as being an “Important Tip”, nothing remains important.
Only Use Technical Jargon When Absolutely Necessary
Throughout your course, always aim for your content to be as straightforward, accessible and simple as possible.
Avoid using big words and adjectives and try to provide information in as simple of a way as you can.
Of course, if you’re teaching a technical subject, the use of technical jargon can sometimes be unavoidable.
If that is the case, ensure that you clearly describe every unfamiliar term which you may be using.
Do this by adding a very simple definition of the word in your slides and then, explaining it thoroughly via your audio narration.
Spend Time Choosing Fonts and Color Schemes
This may seem unimportant but it’s actually something that can make or break your online course.
If the color schemes you use cause your content to be difficult to read, it’s going to be off-putting for students. No one wants to read words that are in Yellow on an Orange background.
Similarly, experiment with fonts to ensure that your content is easily readable.
You want your content to be easily digestible and if your students can barely read it, that’s going to hinder the effectiveness of your online course a lot.
Apart from color schemes, think about fonts as well.
Avoid using fonts that are too fancy and go for something standard such as Calibri, Arial or Times New Roman.
People often make fun of Comic Sans because they find it goofy but there have actually been studies that suggest it’s a font that actually improves reading retention.
Compose Your Headlines with Care
The headline or title of each slide is something that you should put extra time into when composing it.
The headline is the first thing that your students will read on each slide so it’s highly important that you use it to communicate whatever you’re trying to teach effectively.
The headline on each slide should:
- Be useful: Your students should know exactly what they’re going to get on a certain slide just by reading its headline.
- Be concise: Your headline should not be a full sentence but rather a concise phrase.
- Be urgent: Your students should get the feeling that they’re going to miss out on valuable information if they don’t pay attention to the slide at hand.
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Wrapping Things Up…
Composing content for online courses can definitely get overwhelming and it’s one of the stages where a lot of online course creators quit.
In the end, we just have to say that keeping your learning outcomes in mind and keeping your content concise and bite-sized are the keys to making a compelling online course.
Let us know in the comments if we missed out on anything or if you have any tips to share about creating effective online courses.