The focus of an e-learning course is to deliver course objectives by retaining the interest of the learner, till the end. Grammar and presentation form the backbone of all e-learning content. Crisp, error-free content is essential to impress and hold the attention of the learner. Basic grammatical errors distract learners’ attention and create doubts about the efficacy and efficiency of the course.
Helping learners understand and learn is the key objective of any e-learning, but grammatical errors make the communication of information difficult. Identifying and correcting grammatical errors helps in creating a refined e-learning course that will impress learners.
Let’s look at FIVE common off-putting grammatical errors that kill the credibility of an e-learning course.
1. Overlooking Subject-Verb Agreement
A very simple error that should not be overlooked is subject-verb agreement.
For example, saying ‘Peacock and Tiger is the national symbols of India’ is incorrect. ‘Peacock and Tiger are the national symbols of India’ is correct. Such trivial errors distract learner attention from the course content.
The subject and verb must agree on the number; if the subject is singular, the verb must also be singular.
2. Excessive Use of Passive Voice
The key objective of all e-learning courses is teaching or training – processes, topics, subjects, principles, methods etc., to the learner. Use of passive voice makes the content dull and unclear, severely compromising the learning process. It hides the object of learning and makes learning difficult.
For example, consider the statement, ‘A cute and fascinating animal from Antarctica that stands erect and has tiny feet to help it move is the Penguin’. The fact that we are speaking about the Penguin gets lost in this sentence (this can be rewritten as: The Penguin is a cute and fascinating animal from Antarctica, which has tiny feet to move).
Learners get bored or confused by long winding sentences and may skip content.
The needless usage of verbs and excessive prepositions creates long, winding sentences that leave little impact on the learner. Sentences should be succinct and crisp for maximum impact. Proofreading and editing should ensure the deletion of unnecessary words and create impactful sentences. Cluttering sentences and paragraphs with words, phrases, and expressions can lead to both misinterpretation and an increase of the production costs of e-learning.
4. Unnecessary Usage of Articles
The incorrect usage of articles (a, an, the) is a common grammatical error that often compromises the standard of content. Unnecessary and wrong usage of articles irritates learners, and negatively impacts the credibility of the entire e-learning course. Learners look at you as the expert on the subject, and mistakes like this will make them distrust both the content and your competence.
5. Usage of Complex Words and Lengthy Sentences
Lengthy sentences and complex words slow down learners, forcing them to pay attention to the wording, rather than learning. A recent study has found that 79% of people reading online merely scan or skim through the content and only 16% read every word. Simple words and sentences create reader-friendly content that is easy to skim through and absorb.
Through proofreading and grammar checks, we can address content sloppiness and errors and create simple, effective, and impactful e-learning content. A crosscheck of identified grammatical errors can help us in creating simple, clear, and crisp content. Let’s take these tips seriously to improve our content standards to meet international levels.