5 Journalism Techniques To Borrow For eLearning

Connie Malamed, The Landing, Jul 10, 2013
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I certainly agree with the main suggestion in the headline; I use techniques from journalism all the time, and the courses I offer have more in common with newspapers than with books. But there's journalism, and then there's tabloid journalism, and unfortunately this article tends toward the latter. Here are my alternative suggestions:

  • Yes, write good clear headlines, but informative headlines, not 'catchy'
  • Use callouts to reinforce main points, not merely to 'tease' the reader
  • Leads should not just be 'compelling', they should tell the whole story
  • Quote from knowledgeable sources, not just 'engaging' sources
  • Close with a call to action, not merely a 'kicker'

These are good rules for journalism as well as e-learning, and indeed for any writing designed to inform rather than merely to intrigue and entertain.

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