The very bad and no good eLearning


As big business gets bigger, we’re seeing more and more “old” eLearning material and it’s time to revisit some good advice from Cathy Moore. “Old” eLearning content is everything that hits the stereo type.

It’s long, boring, full of buzzwords and not a lot of “learning” actually happens. If your eLearning program “tells” the customer what to think and do repeatedly, and has a test at the end, you’ve probably got old eLearning.

Bad online modules:

  • Tells, tells, tells then tests
  • Cares more about content than the learners
  • Makes learners work harder than necessary, which makers it harder to learn
  • Fears, humour, conflict, and creativity, which kills motivation
  • Costs more to produce!


This is the problem

It’s a mindset!

“But if we make our courses easy to read, our learners won’t respect the content” ~ Every corporate drone

For some reason, we like to use lots of big “corporate speak” words in eLearning material, and in the process we don’t sound human anymore



In eLearning, language IS interface! If you want respect, make the “content” challenging, not the language you use. Would a UX specialist make their interface intentionally difficult to use!?


eLearning on-the-line

  • eLearning shouldn’t be equivalent to reading the Harvard Law Review,
  • We read 25% more slowly online
  • We’re typically scan instead of “read” online text
  • Learners understand gamification
  • A quick pace is more interesting

How to

Cut everything that doesn’t lend itself to the objective

Most adjectives and adverbs are just filler words that lend themselves to “corporate speak”

The Tools

You want to use MS Word to view the readability statistics. These usually aren’t on by default, so here is how to access them.

You want to go to “Tools” then “Spelling and Grammar”

Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 4.11.12 pm

Then go to the “options” button when the spell checker pops up

Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 2.57.19 pm

Then you need to make sure “show readability statistics” is checked

Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 2.57.34 pm

After that, run the spell check and at the end MS Word will populate

Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 3.19.36 pm

Ignore the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level, you want the Flesch Reading Ease calculation.

The higher the “reading ease” score the better. Aim for your eLearning content to rate around the 65 mark.

Material  Reading Ease
Reader’s Digest  65
 Time 52
 Business Week  51
 Wall Street Journal  43
 Harvard Law Review  32
 Auto Policy  10

All the good things from this post originally from Cathy Moore’s Dump the Drone Slide Share

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