There’s content, and there’s content. However, not all content is conducive for learning. And therein begins the slide of your storyboarding efforts towards ineffectiveness.
Here are some tips that can help you write meaningful content, which could lead to effective learning.
Know your purpose
Know why you are creating the course. Understand the reasons why the learner needs the specific information, and figure out exactly how much needs to be taught. Don’t launch into details of nuclear fission if all the course needs to teach is the periodic table. Be clear with your objectives.
Write for the learner
As instructional designers, we get to read up on a lot of stuff – raw content, reference material – and even interact with SMEs to understand the topic. You could even say that at the end of all our research, we become rather knowledgeable about a certain topic! That puts us on a high horse…
When we transfer our knowledge to our storyboards, though, we need to get off that high horse and put ourselves in the shoes of the learners. Compartmentalize your mind – let one part be the trainer, and the other the learner. Write with one part of the mind, for the other. If what you write makes sense to your learner avatar, you’re on track.
Keep it simple
Even within a target group, grasping abilities differ. ‘Intellectual diversity’, you know.
Cater to the lowest rung, without ‘dumbing down’ the content. Do not underestimate, or overestimate your learners. Use words that everyone will understand – remember, this is not where you wax eloquence. Explain concepts briefly wherever it could add value. Include additional reference material, if you can – it goes a long way.
Stick to the facts
The moon is not made of green cheese. Marilyn Monroe was not the first woman president of the United States.
Accuracy of content is imperative – even if it sounds ghastly, or gory. Don’t try to beautify the content by going off the track; or change history because you believe in what you saw in the movies. Leave fiction to storytellers. Use your imagination to create the instructional approach, not the content.
There you go – four of my secrets revealed! As an instructional designer, keeping your learner in mind is the key to successful course creation – treat the learner with respect, motivate the learner, and steer clear of the temptation to bore the learner to death!