Instructional Writing, Identifying Strengths: ID Links 4/13/21

As I read online, I bookmark resources I find interesting and useful. I share these links periodically here on my blog. In this post, I share links on instructional writing, identifying strengths, project management tools, design principles, and more.

Instructional writing

How to Use Plain Language to Improve Learning Outcomes

We all probably know we should use easier to understand language in instructional writing, but this article provides more specifics on how to actually do that. The before and after writing example shows what a significant difference it can make.

Even if you’re writing for doctors, bigger words and longer sentences do not equal better writing. Short, simple sentences with common language are generally best for everyone. The aim of plain writing is not to “dumb down” your information but to ensure that it is easy to read for your audience.

Kayleen Holt

Scenario Writing: Top 5 Pitfalls | Scissortail Creative Services, LLC

Common mistakes and pitfalls for writing scenario-based learning.

  1. Not tying the story to the learning objectives.
  2. Getting preachy.
  3. Avoiding the gray areas.
  4. Writing robotic speech.
  5. Disguising info dumps as conversations.

Identifying strengths

Identify your superpower and learn to leverage it – Chris Lema

Chris Lema shares questions to reflect on your skills to identify your special strengths. First, what are the things you’re good at, but take other people a lot of time and effort? Second, what do people compliment you on, but you downplay it because it feels so easy to you? Third, what can you do well that surprises other people? This isn’t about instructional design, but it seems relevant to our field where there’s a wide range of skills under the general umbrella. Within that broad scope of L&D, what’s your superpower? This is also another way to think about identifying a niche for freelancers and consulting businesses.

The second thing to do when you identify your superpower(s) is to shape the work you’re doing to leverage your particular way of seeing and doing things.

Chris Lema

Project management tools

The 57 Best Project Management Software in 2020

An extensive list of project management software options, many of which have a free tier. Note that the list was compiled by nTask, who conveniently put their own tool on the top of the list. The feature comparisons and pricing summaries are still useful though.

Visual design principles

Why Does a Design Look Good?

While these examples are all websites, the design principles apply to elearning too.

Summary: Visually aesthetic designs use consistent typography, establish a clear hierarchy, utilize a refined color palette, and align to a grid.

Sarah Gibbons and Kelley Gordon

Pricing courses

How to Price Your Online Course (Complete Guide to Course Pricing)

Lengthy guide about considerations for pricing online courses from Thinkific. This is aimed at experts who are selling courses, but that also applies to many of us in the L&D field who are branching out into selling course products ourselves.

Additional resources

Check out my complete library of links or my previous bookmarks posts.

2 thoughts on “Instructional Writing, Identifying Strengths: ID Links 4/13/21”

    1. I have played with Airtable a little bit, and it looks like that should do pretty much everything I need. The only thing I have struggled with is getting dates for dependent tasks to push out if the project is delayed. I think that’s possible in Airtable, but it requires some formulas. I suspect if I invest the time in figuring out that formula once, that it would be easy to copy to other projects. I just haven’t sat down to wrestle with it enough.

      But, maybe that’s a sign that I actually need something else besides Airtable. I like my Google Sheets plugin that automatically shifts the dates of all dependent tasks because it’s fairly easy. It’s only worth switching to something else if it will be an improvement over my current system. I love Airtable’s ability to link across spreadsheets (it’s actually a relational database), plus having multiple views of the same project.

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