Make your reading chapters easier to read, more engaging and effective. Using documents as course chapter content isn’t as straightforward as you may think. Follow along as I break down the best practices of using reading content in your courses.
When you are planning or building courses for your online academy, video isn’t always an option, usually due to lack of resources (time, people or investment). On the other hand, company documentation most of the times is already available and can easily be adapted to be distributed to your team, partners or customers. Those documents can be a company handbook, a sales playbook, technical papers, an article on the course topic, or guidelines to perform a task, just to give some examples.
When adapting or creating new documents to be included in a course you should take into account the following aspects about content:
- Content pertinence. You should ask yourself if the document really needs a chapter to itself or if it is secondary information and should only be a course attachment.
- A document should be self-explanatory. Include the most critical information, usually the who, what, when, where, why or how in the start of the document. In doing this you make sure that your audience retains the most important information you’re trying to convey.
- Watch out for information overload. Try to keep your reading material short in length and limit the number of concepts and ideas or your audience will lose focus. If there’s too much information, try to break it down into different document chapters.
Although content is the main focus of any reading (or otherwise) chapter, its form should be given some love too because it can affect comprehension and knowledge retention. But it isn’t just about making it pretty, when adapting or creating new documents make sure you:
- Use large font-sizes and increase the line height to improve legibility.
- Don’t use lighter colours for text. Good contrast between the text and the background also improves legibility.
- Use headings. Headings help your audience perceive information hierarchy and makes your content more scannable if your students just skim through documents.
- Use the same visual identity you use throughout the rest of your course. Consistency aids your audience to recognise the content as being part of a whole.
- Use small file sizes. Content will load faster, improving the student user experience (Try not to overuse images. But if you really have to, make sure you optimize them for digital viewing).
With these simple tips you'll be able to create or adapt your reading chapters successfully and ensure audience engagement, interest and knowledge retention.
If you’re using bugle, here’s a video on how reading chapters work:
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