Whether you’re writing your own curriculum or working with an instructional designer to capture the right tone, writing style depends on which of the learning methods you’re using for eLearning and training. Each writing style has its pros and cons. By exploring the three main writing styles and how they work for learners, you’ll be able to identify which one works for the project, subject matter and learner at hand.
Informal Writing is Best Used for Casual Learning Methods (Microlearning)
When your subject matter is light and you want to engage your learners, an informal style seems less stuffy and more conversational. By using casual language, you immediately put your learner at ease. This works well when your curriculum focuses on creative subject matter, uses casual learning methods – think microlearning – or you want to encourage discussion. Best for less serious topics, informal writing grabs your learner’s attention and captures it based on an easy-going tone.
Formal Language is Best Used for Sensitive Courses
Even if you prefer an informal tone, it doesn’t work for all topics. If the subject matter is sensitive and has zero room for interpretation, it should be approached with more formal language. After all, no one wants an off-the-cuff and casual course about workplace sexual harassment. By adopting formal and concise language, you send the message that the subject matter should be approached seriously and given the respect it deserves.
Instructional Writing is Best Used for Introducing a New Concept
If you’re showing or telling learners exactly how to do something, don’t be afraid to use a more authoritative, instructional writing style. Utilizing a “how to” approach to learning methods works well when you’re introducing an entirely new concept or policy to learners. And, while writing should be more instructional in tone at the beginning, you can usually loosen the reins as your learners beocme more confident in their knowledge base throughout the course.