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How to get rid of waffle in your microlearning content
Microlearning content is great because it allows employees to learn in short bursts. You are defeating the point if you are writing long winded content that waffles on 😴. In this post we’ll tell you exactly how to cut the nonsense and get straight to the points that matter.
Avoid using a passive voice
Using a passive voice makes you less straightforward. It can also make you use a lot of unnecessary words that you don’t really need to use to get your point across. You should always aim to use the active voice instead. For example, ‘Instructions will be given to you by the director’ is the passive voice. When changed to the active voice it will sound like this ‘The director will give you instructions.’
To change from a passive to an active voice you always need to make sure that the subject in the sentence is performing the action. In the passive voice the subject usually goes at the end of the sentence rather than at the beginning.
Get rid of these unnecessary words
There are words that are just used for the sake of using them. They dont actually add any value these words are ‘actually, possibly, probably, totally, basically, ultimately, rather, somehow and certainly. Get rid of these words as they are using up valuable word count.
One sentence, one idea
Don’t try to cram too many ideas into one sentence. Go by the ‘one sentence, one idea’ rule to keep things simple and easy to follow.
Be rigorous with your editing
Once you have written some content out edit it. Ask yourself, are you using the best word for the job? Is there a simpler way to say what you’re saying? Once you’ve completed your content try to cut it by a third.
Use normal words
You don’t need to impress anyone, you just need to get the information across. Avoid jargon, the best thing to remember is write as if your audience was a team of 10 year olds. Avoid abbreviations and acronyms. For example avoid saying ‘due diligence‘ as it refers to research before a decision, just say you need more time to think and prepare. Here are some more examples below;
- Prior to 👉before
- Is able to 👉can
- With respect to 👉 about
- In the case of 👉with
- Engage with 👉 contact
- On occasion 👉sometimes
- Leverage 👉 make the most of
- On an ongoing basis 👉regularly
- Bottom line 👉the most important thing
- As to 👉soon
Use verbs rather than nouns
When you use verbs (that express actions) rather than nouns (which refer to things) it makes your writing easier to read. The nouns we are talking about are usually abstract nouns, the ones which end in – ‘ion’ and ‘ent’. For example use ‘you must complete the healthy and safety playlist’ don’t use ‘the completion of the health and safety playlist is mandatory.’
Plan out your content before you write it
Don’t just start writing an article. Plan out the sections of what you want each part to say. Think about why you’re writing it and who it is for. For example if you are writing a microlearning article about ‘stock room best practice’ you might start with;
- The issue
- What you want to happen for the future
- Why it’s essential
Use more subheadings
The more subheadings the better. They really break down your writing and make it easier to read. They also mean you can’t waffle on from subject to subject.
Reduce your paragraphs
It is best practice to stick to a maximum of 5 lines per paragraph. A good way to reduce the size of your paragraphs is to ask yourself.
- Does it have fresh information or is it just repeating what’s said before in a different way?
- Is it adding value or is it necessary?
- Does it really support what you are trying to say?
The key thing to remember is the more white space the better.