Monday, February 09, 2015

Cammy Bean, "Writing Better eLearning Scripts" Training 2015

I'm in Atlanta for Training 2015. Our friend Cammy Bean so often live blogs other people's conference sessions, including some of mine, I figured I'd return the favor.

"How can we write better programs?" 

-Aim for short & snappy
-How do people talk to each other? Write like that. Use a lighter, accessible tone.
It's really critical to know your audience
(Form follows function) Comic books are fun and can support the fun affect.

-We are storytellers - that's why writing is so essential.
"It's all about the people, man. Sitting at the other end of that computer is a person. We need to make it accessible, conversational. What if you were sitting having a cup of coffee with someone and talking about this topic? Capture that tone.

-Object to learning objectives. These are objectives for the designer. Learners don't need these and won't read them -- and it's not how we  talk to each other.  (Jane: I have never had a boss ask me to "list" anything.)

- Read it out loud. Would YOU want to listen? That helps a lot with cutting jargon, wordiness. Make it something that's appealing to you. If you think it's boring, others will think it's even more boring.

- Inject humanity by letting real people talk. Use iPhones if you need to: "Here's what  I think." "Here's my perspective" "Here's how I do that." Work out loud/show your work.

- Tell great stories. See Heath & Heath's Making Things Stick . Use stories to help someone step into another's shoes. It will help them remember, will help with subsequent practice.

- Grab attention w tales of risk & intrigue. Provide a cliffhanger. Set up a curiosity gap.

- Find stories by asking questions of SMEs: Where do people get this wrong? What do people want to DO? Where can they get more information and help?

-"Ask your experts to think out loud. Get them to narrate their work and walk you through the process."

-"Have the SME tell you the story of their slide deck."

-Use the words they SAY, not the words they write. Get it in their words.

- Activate your writing -- go for engaging, active. Pull the learner through a great story. Connect the dots so the story flows from one piece to the next.

- Cut the blather; focus on doing.

- Write the neverending story. Elearning may just be the beginning -- help learners take the action out into the real world.

-Clear call to action: get them to think about how they will change their behavior.

Learn more at Today's slide deck is available on Slideshare.


Paula Lee Bright said...

Your commentary and the slideshow Cammy did--WOW! I stopped many times just to think about the images with quotes. So many of my heroes, and all with similar messages, despite being long gone.

What a great help this will be as I create my online course for kids who fail to learn to read at school. The kids who "flunk," (their words, not mine).

The ones whose parents are desperately scared about their future without being able to read...but can't afford my 1-on-1 teaching.

Following you now in several spots. Carry on, kid!

Super work! Thank you. :D

Craig Hadden - Remote Possibilities said...

Thanks for this, Jane and Cammy – great stuff!

At work, I’m planning a session on writing for instructional designers, and I’ll mention your post.

You might also like this related post from Doris and Bertie. It’s aimed at business writing in general, but I found their approach of colour-coding nouns, verbs etc extremely helpful for checking elearning scripts too.

Strong Foundations said...

Thanks for sharing this slideshow. Several of the ideas presented left me taking notes on how I can implement these techniques in my lecture class. Sometimes when I am lecturing I wonder if the students are bored during certain sections because I am bored listening to myself. At those points I engage with the audience to pull them back into learning mode. I have also used less busy slides because the abundance of information resulted in the students not reading the book assuming I provided all the information on the slide or they were to busy ready the slide and not paying attention to the lecture.

IDStudent Felicia