While great design and slick animations can add a lot to a user’s experience with a learning course, content will always reign supreme. Even the most well-designed courses will fall flat if the content doesn’t deliver the key learning points in a way that’s easy for the user to understand. Keeping this focus on high-quality content in mind, here are a few tips that will greatly increase your course’s success:
Focus on Substance
It’s great when you’re able to get on a roll when creating content, furiously covering a multitude of topics in seemingly no time at all. Although, when this happens it’s easy to lose focus of the true goal of the content, which may lead to inconsistencies. Have you made any unsupported assertions? Are there any gaps in the content’s logic? Is the copy relating back to the course objectives that you’ve previously established? It’s essential to ask yourself questions like these during the content creation phase to make sure the copy is substantive and cohesive.
Keep It Simple
Learners place a high premium on their time, and nothing will aggravate them more than taking a course that they feel is wasting it. Content should be simple and broken up into small bits of information that are easy for the learner to digest. Avoid long, run-on sentences and huge walls of text that the learner will feel are a burden to read and remember. The goal is to get your point across in the simplest way possible and your learners will thank you for it.
Back Up Your Facts
It’s often easy to find facts that correlate to the point you’re trying to make in your content, but it’s necessary to ensure that the data is accurate. Using incorrect metrics that are taken from disreputable sources, skewed studies, or worst of all, are not cited at all, can completely ruin your credibility. It’s important to fact check all measurable statements made in your content, and cite your sources when possible.
Spell Check, Spell Check, Spell Check
For a lot of learners, there’s nothing more jarring than finding an obvious spelling mistake or grammatical error in the middle of a course. The presence of grammatical errors will lead users to believe that the course was put together hastily and often discredits the content itself. If you didn’t take the time to spell check the content, why should the learner take the time to read it?
Utilize Multiple Sets of Eyes
They say two heads are better than one, so once you’ve proofread your own content multiple times and you’re sure that there are no issues, get another set of eyes to look through it for you. Odds are good that no matter how perfect you think the it is, your editor will find at least a few errors within the content. Even the most polished writers tend to suffer from content fatigue (where they’ve worked with the copy for so long that they start to miss small details), so it’s always a good idea to have a co-worker take a look before sending off the final version.
The Bottom Line
Content is king, so you want to make sure that yours is always substantive, simple, and free of errors. Keeping these tips in mind the next time you’re creating copy for your course is sure to lead to higher learner satisfaction and a higher retention rate.