How to remove redundant e-learning course text

Writing is a key part of an instructional designer’s job. From analysis to storyboarding to reviewing and editing to developing the final course (which almost always contains text!), the written word is one of the cornerstones of training, along with the other various forms of multimedia we use to share information.

The way you communicate a piece of information could dictate whether your learners get it right away (ideally in a way that means it sticks with them for a long time) or don’t grasp it all because they can’t understand what they’re reading. And the key to creating meaningful text is making it clear and easy to understand. So next time you’re pruning your text, keep these tips in mind to remove any redundant e-learning course text.

Don’t Repeat Yourself

This may seem obvious, but it’s critical: avoid saying the same thing twice.

Do you really need to say: “It’s a nightly occurrence that happens every evening when the clock strikes 12 midnight”? Or could you say, “It’s a nightly occurrence when the clock strikes midnight” and still get the same point across?

Reconstruct Sentences

Be on the lookout for sentences you can make shorter or more concise. In particular, sentences with the word “which” can often be reconstructed.

Here’s an example: “The Internet, which was invented in 1969, was a starting point for this new era” can be reformulated to “Invented in 1969, the Internet was a starting point for this new era.” And just like that, you’ve dropped a few unnecessary words from your sentence.

Shorten Phrases into Words

Sometimes you can reduce a phrase or multiple words to one word. Here’s an example: “Unencumbered by a sense of responsibility, Tanya didn’t complete the e-learning module she was supposed to do” can become “Tanya, irresponsibly, didn’t complete the e-learning module she was supposed to do.” In fact, you could even drop “irresponsibly” potentially, because the action portion of the sentence describes the word already.

Get Rid of Filler Phrases

“Due to the fact that,” “for all intents and purposes,” “in the event that,” and the like are filler phrases that take up space but don’t really convey meaningful information. They might sound important, but they don’t add any value for the learner.

“As a matter of fact, e-learning courses are more popular now than they’ve ever been” can become “E-learning courses are more popular now than they’ve ever been.”

Remove Unneeded Words

Similar to how we use filler phrases, we also use filler words like “very” and “really.” Prune your text thoroughly and drop those fillers.

One word in particular I’ve found is overused and can almost always be dropped is “that.” Check it out: “The learners discovered that they could skip ahead to the next chapter.” Remove “that” and the sentence is still perfectly fine.

Remember these five simple tips the next time you’re editing your text to make sure your information is straightforward and to the point. Do you have any tips of your own for removing redundant e-learning course information? Leave them below in the comments!

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Maria Jaeger