Making Complex Information Easier to Read with Plain Language #427

Using Plain Language in E-Learning #427: Challenge | Recap

As course designers, a big part of our job is writing. Whether you’re writing scripts from scratch or revising existing material, using clear and simple words will go a long way in helping your learners understand things easily. It’s stuff everyone knows but sometimes forgets, right?

One of the best ways to simplify your writing is to use plain language. Plain language means using clear and simple words to communicate complex ideas and information. And this interactive article does a fantastic job demonstrating the value of plain language with the help of micro interactions.

Plain Language: Toggle Option

I like how the toggle button lets readers compare and contrast the original text with a revised, plain-language example.

Plain Language: Toggle Option

Plain Language: See It In Action

The sliding effect used in this example cleverly lets readers compare and contrast the original text with a revised plain language version. Using motion paths and T/F variables, you can create something similar in Storyline 360.

Plain Language: See It In Action

Plain Language: Side-by-Side Comparison

I like using highlighted text to view the plain language revisions. You can easily create a similar interaction using hotspots or hover states in Storyline 360.

Plain Language: Side-by-Side Comparison

Challenge of the Week

This week, your challenge is to demonstrate how plain language can make learning and reading easier. Here are a few ideas for how you might approach this week’s topic:

  • Before-After Interactions: Compare and contrast two writing examples
  • Tooltips, labeled graphics, and Invisible Buttons: Use interactive objects to create explore-type activities
  • Toggle buttons: Create on/off interactions to toggle plain language settings
  • Button sets and interactive tabs: Let learners tab between easy, medium, and hard reading levels to view different revision styles.
  • Text variables: Let learners practice rewriting paragraphs to compare against an expert’s recommendation
  • Sliders and dials: Let learners explore different editing and revision techniques using common interactive objects
  • Drag-and-drop: Let learners drag-drop objects to identify plain language revision opportunities.


Share Your E-Learning Work

  • Comments: Use the comments section below to link your published example and blog post.
  • Forums: Start a new thread and share a link to your published example.
  • Personal blog: If you have a blog, please consider writing about your challenges. We'll link to your posts so your great work gets even more exposure.
  • Social media: If you share your demos on Twitter or LinkedIn, try using #ELHChallenge so your tweeps can follow your e-learning coolness.

Last Week’s Challenge:

Before you get started on this week’s challenge, check out the creative ways to blend two distinct design styles into a new design theme:

18 Ways to Use Contrasting Styles to Create Memorable Designs #426

Blending Contrasting Design Styles RECAP #426: Challenge | Recap

New to the E-Learning Challenges?

The weekly e-learning challenges are ongoing opportunities to learn, share, and build your e-learning portfolios. You can jump into any or all of the previous challenges anytime you want. I’ll update the recap posts to include your demos.

Learn more about the challenges in this Q&A post and why and how to participate in this helpful article.

Got an idea for a challenge? Are you interested in doing a webinar showcasing how you made one or more challenge demos? Or do you have some comments for your humble challenge host? Use this anonymous form to share your feedback:

Kali Maginity
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Ron Katz
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