How to Compose Effective eLearning Narration

eLearning Narrative Composition Guidelines

Following are examples of best practices when composing eLearning narrative. For those who are looking for a grammar refresher, check out these Grammar Basics. Do you have other examples of how to write effective and efficient eLearning narration? Feel free to share! Do you need help drafting eLearning storyboards, narration, instructional design, or related services?

  1. Prepositional Phrases: Avoid using multiple prepositions in a single sentence. Reword sentences to eliminate prepositions when possible.
  • Before 3 Prepositions: As you can see, the refrigerator stores all four of the different types of meat products that we serve to our Guests
  • After No Prepositions: As this illustration demonstrates, the refrigerator stores the four separate meat products that we serve…
  • See more examples here: http://writing.wisc.edu/Handbook/CCS_prepphrases.html

2.    Pronouns: Use pronouns within a sentence, but avoid using pronouns if the original noun it references is more than a sentenced removed.

  • Before: Next, we’ll discuss the product holding unit (or PHU) and how the PHU keeps finished products at the right temperature and quality. It also tells you when products have expired and should be placed into the waste bucket.
  • After: Next, we’ll discuss the product holding unit (or PHU) and how it keeps finished products at the right temperature and quality. The PHU also tells you when products have expired and should be placed into the waste bucket.
  • Note: The first sentence mentioned the subject PHU by its proper name twice. The next sentence then begins with the pronoun “it”, referring back to the PHU in the previous sentence. In this case it is better to do the reverse – replace the repetitive use of PHU in the first sentence with a pronoun, and start the second sentence with the reinforcing use of the term PHU.

3.    Contractions:

  • When writing audio narration, use contractions frequently as they make the narrative sound more fluid and less “stuffy”. However, if you want to emphasize an important item (like a safety issue), use a phrase like “Do Not” in the narration. By using contractions liberally, you will give more emphasis to key phrases in which you do not use a contraction.
  • Conversely, when writing on-screen text, DO NOT use contractions. Even if the narrator says “it’s”, write on-screen text as “it is”.
  • Example: You don’t want our Guests or coworkers to slip and fall, so DO NOT allow a spill in the restaurant to go unattended.

4.    Product Specificity: Avoid using phrases like “our products” and instead use specific product names as related to the module.

  • Before: Your goal is to ensure that high quality cooked products are available when our Guests order them.
  • After: Your goal is to ensure that beef and chicken are cooked and available when our Guests order them.

5.    Put the Noun up front: Generally it is best to start sentences with the subject at the beginning and then provide supporting detail. In this example, the main point is to stock the refrigerator properly, not preparing products safely and quickly.

  • Before: An item that makes it possible for you to prepare finished products safely and quickly is a properly stocked refrigerator.
  • After: A properly stocked refrigerator makes it possible for you to prepare finished products safely and quickly.

6.    Put the Key Point up front: Especially if you are going to list an item as on-screen text as this will give you time to leave the point on screen as the narrator speaks. If you are going to emphasize a point using on-screen text, you should raise this point early in the narration sentence/paragraph. Notice in the sentence below that we also eliminated prepositions.

  • Before: Another way to ensure proper sanitation is to keep product tongs from coming into contact with each other. (this sentence includes 5 prepositions)
  • After: Keeping product tongs from contacting each other also ensures proper sanitation. (this sentence now only includes one preposition)

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