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Importance of Style Guide in E-learning

Written By Induja Gurukuntala

Importance of Style Guide in E-learning

As an instructional designer, it is your duty to develop error-free storyboards. A storyboard with errors can waste your time and effort.

This can be avoided by following certain style guides to ensure consistency. These style guides have been compiled from existing courses. Here are a few things you might want to know about style guides and use in your eLearning courses.

A style guide or manual is a set of guidelines that dictates uniformity in style within a course or a storyboard. These can be framed by the representatives of an organization such as the managers, the marketing department, or the training team. These style guides include how content should be written, the grammatical rules, formatting of citations, preferred spellings and capitalizations, abbreviations, etc. In addition to these, specialized style guides which are specific to the organization and meet their requirements can be developed.

A style guide is necessary for maintaining consistency which reflects on the quality of the course or storyboard. Following a style guide will help instructional designers abide by the common standards. It enforces the usage of the same style, language, and fonts. This minimizes confusion and saves rework time.

Click here to view a sample style guide for your reference.

Each organization has its own style guide for both internal and external uses. There are certain style guides which the organization develops to fit their purpose.

You can find some standard guidelines on the internet. Here are a few standard style guides that are preferred widely.

Style guides can also be used to prevent common mistakes in English language. Often we are unable to decide the correct usage. Below is a table with some common issues and their correct usage.

Issue Solution
Punctuations Comma:

  • Used around parenthetical elements
  • Used to separate clauses of a compound sentences or to separate more than three elements

En-dash:

  • Used to show equal relationship

Colon:

  • Used following a word introducing a quotation
  • Do not capitalize the word following the colon

Parenthesis

  • If parenthesis encloses a complete sentence, then period should be inside.
  • If parenthesis encloses a sentence fragment, then period should be outside.
Quotations Cited with the year and page number(if any)
Numbers Spell out numbers from one to ten and if the sentence is beginning with numbers
Tables and Illustrations Each table and illustration should be supported with related text
Capitalization Capitalize proper nouns and all words in titles except articles, prepositions, and conjunctions
Italics Italicize to emphasize important words and the instructions for interactivities

While developing an eLearning course, the content from both onscreen and audio requires special treatment. Following a style guide will help you avoid common mistakes and maintain the quality of the course.

View Presentation on 5 Steps to Start eLearning in Your Organization

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