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Hidden Errors in an E-Learning course – Part I

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Hidden Errors in an E-Learning Course - Part I

It is amazing to see how fresh eyes often catch errors that you might have ignored while developing the storyboard. So, it is a good idea to know the areas where the common mistakes hide. Therefore, to help you to minimize errors, I have put together a list of common errors we often overlook. These include:

  • Abbreviations:In the context of abbreviation usage, we often make the mistake of using Latin abbreviations; this might lead to complications with translations. And, moreover, it also becomes difficult for other learners across the globe to comprehend the exact meaning of such abbreviations.

Better to avoid: e.g., i.e., lbs., etc.

Use “for example,” “that is,”pound,” and “and more.

  • Capitalization:
    Capitalize proper nouns and avoid capitalization of common nouns, prepositions, articles, and conjunctions. We can only capitalize common nouns, if they are copyrighted or trademarked words and the others if they were to be emphasized in a particular title or sentence.

Another area, where we need to be careful is in the use of hyphenated compound words in titles, such as Follow-up, Long-term-we should capitalize only the first element (Follow and Long), and the second elements (up and term) will not be capitalized unless they are trademark words.

A New Hope for a New Land!-“for” is a preposition, so better use lowercase.

Arguments For and Against a New State-we are emphasizing here, so “for” in uppercase.

  • Commas:
    Is there any difference between the two given sentences?
  • Let’s eat son.
  • Let’s eat, son.

Believe me; a single comma can change the entire meaning of a sentence. So, you need to be meticulous about its usage. The usual rule that we follow is this: use a serial comma before the last item of a series of words. Another important point to note is – If you were to join two independent clauses, it is better to use a comma before a conjunction.

The bag is lightweight and it can be carried around easily.

The bag is lightweight, and it can be carried around easily.

– place comma before “and” because it joins two independent clauses.

  • Numerals and Units of Measurement:
    Insert a space between the number and its corresponding units of measurement. For example, 40 GB hard disk. But there is one exception to this rule; do not insert a space between the number and its unit of measurement (mm) when it is used in a photographic context (Source: PHI Style Guide, Pg.54). For example, it is appropriate to write-This is a 35mm lens.

Another, important aspect is that it is wise to represent values as numbers in specifications (product, etc.) or in an overview list, but spell them out when used in textual context.

2 5-inch memory card.

Two 5-inch memory card.

- Spell “2” when used in textual context.

  • Approach:
    In spite of these rules, there are some more points that need to be pondered.

First, it is preferable to use active voice instead of passive. The sentence should be simple enough without any jargons. A complex sentence may lead to complications with translations and comprehension in other geographical areas.

Second, it is always appreciated to remove redundant words. Better to use “to” instead of “in order to”. Don’t use “both alike” when “alike” itself is sufficient.

Third, while writing a list of items, it would be better if you can maintain parallelism for all elements. For example: Bob creates, writes, and modifies programs.

Banking stocks were hurt by the sluggish economy.

The sluggish economy hurts banking stocks.

To summarize, we have now discussed some of the rules that need to be followed to close loopholes of our grammatical ambiguity or writing approach. I am sure that these rules will pave the way for a consistent, easily digestible content.

I am not still over with these rules. There are some more rules that are to be shared in my next post. Until then, you can enjoy learning and upgrading your writing skills using these rules.

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