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Heroes in the Shadows: Technical Writers of WWII

World War II, one of the most devastating conflicts in human history, was marked by unprecedented technological and scientific advancements. Historical accounts usually focus on the scariest and most violent breakthroughs, such as the first use of rockets in V1 and V2 weapons or the atom bomb. However, there are others that have helped shape the modern world for the better. The art of technical writing exploded with the onslaught of innovative technology that a large number of people need to lea

Business Communication: The Lifeblood of Organizational Success

Effective business communication is the lifeblood of any successful organization. It is not merely about exchanging information but also about ensuring that the message is clear, understood, and leads to meaningful action. In today’s rapidly changing work environment, especially with the shifts brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, the importance of impactful communication has never been more critical. From building trust and clarity within teams to enhancing productivity and fostering a healt

AI-Powered Knowledge Management: Productivity and Innovation

The rapid advancement of generative artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing various aspects of our work, particularly in knowledge management (KM). While AI won’t replace all human tasks, it offers significant enhancements by automating routine activities, thereby allowing employees to focus on more meaningful and strategic work. The integration of AI into KM systems has become increasingly transformative, providing powerful tools that boost efficiency and productivity. In 2022, 35 perce

The Transformative Role of User-Generated Content in eLearning

User-generated content (UGC) is the most time-honored method of training — informally spreading one’s personal knowledge of a subject to peers. In the workplace, it’s been delivered unofficially in the lunchroom or in random conversations. But, in our ever-evolving world of communication technology, the delivery of UGC and its relevance has become an important part of modern training programs. Internet-based apps and platforms are now available on laptops, smartphones, and tablets. Blogs, wikis,

Captivate Learners: The Power of Color

In our modern digital environment, capturing and maintaining learners’ attention is challenging. By using color strategically, instructional designers (IDs) and technical writers (TWs) can highlight crucial information, enhance engagement, and ensure content is accessible to all learners. Let’s explore how a thoughtful color palette profoundly impacts the effectiveness of your content.

Here are a few statistics about the importance of color:
• We read color ads up to 42 percent more often than

Smart Training, Smarter Workforce: Embracing AI in L&D

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a groundbreaking force reshaping Learning and Development (L&D) strategies. Artificial Intelligence encompasses a diverse range of technologies, including machine learning, natural language processing, and robotics. Recent research from LinkedIn shows that four in five people (80 percent) want to learn more about how to use AI in their profession. As organizations strive to remain competitive in an increasingly digital environment, implementing AI in L&D initiativ

Mastering Learning Objectives: Avoid These 6 Common Mistakes!

Learning objectives are the backbone of any training program, serving as the guiding force that directs instructional design and learner outcomes. Despite their crucial role, defining effective learning objectives can be a challenging task. From vague statements to unrealistic expectations, trainers and instructional designers must navigate numerous pitfalls. In this blog post, we’ll delve into some common mistakes made while defining learning objectives for training and explore strategies to av

Rediscovering the Joy of Reading in a Digital Age

It’s 2024 and May is Get Caught Reading Month. Sadly, the art of reading seems to be fading into obscurity. With the rise of social media, streaming services, and video games, we find ourselves spending less and less time engaged in the simple pleasure of reading (or listening to) a book. However, the benefits of reading, regardless of the format, remain as potent and essential as ever, and we can change our habits to reap reading’s benefits.

Over the past few decades, we’ve seen a noticeable d

Exploring the Role of Instructional Designers: Are They Teachers?

In the world of education and training, instructional designers play a pivotal role in shaping learning experiences. They are the architects behind the scenes, crafting materials and strategies to facilitate effective learning. But are instructional designers considered teachers? In honor of today (May 7), being National Teacher Day in the United States, let’s look at the similarities and differences between these two roles to help us decide.

First, let’s review the traditional responsibilities

Soft Skills: The Secret Weapon for Career Success

We’re witnessing a major shift in today’s work environment, and skills once overlooked are now seen as indispensable: soft skills. These interpersonal, communication, and emotional intelligence abilities shape how we work, collaborate, and lead. Technological and knowledge-based skills continue to contribute to one’s career potential, but soft skills have recently surged in significance. In fact, 91 percent of Learning and Development (L&D) professionals agree that soft skills are increasingly i

Innovative Training Solutions: The Rise of Rapid eLearning Development

Rapid eLearning development (REL) is transforming how organizations train their workforce. This innovative approach creates engaging, interactive, and customizable eLearning experiences in record time. But what is REL, and what sets it apart from traditional methods?

REL is the process of quickly developing and deploying digital learning content using authoring tools and templates. Traditional eLearning development often requires extensive resources and time. However, REL streamlines the creati

The Green Revolution: How eLearning Saves the Planet

Every action companies take holds the potential to either harm or heal the planet. While the phrase “corporate training” may not immediately conjure up images of sustainability, the rise of eLearning platforms within corporate settings is quietly revolutionizing how organizations approach training and positively impacting the environment. As sustainability has become a higher societal priority over the last decade, businesses are looking for ways to reduce their impact on the world and engage in

Strategies for Managing Noise While Working from Home

As remote work becomes increasingly prevalent — hybrid or 100 percent at home — the challenge of managing household noise has become more pertinent. Whether it’s the pitter-patter (or stomp-stomp) of little feet or the occasional barking of the family dog, controlling sound levels in your home workspace is essential for maintaining focus and productivity. So, short of sending the kids off to camp for the summer, what can you do to create a conducive work environment? Here are some strategies to

Beyond Words: How Coding Elevates Technical Writing

Today’s technology is rapidly evolving. Effective and efficient technical documentation is critical to a successful user experience, and the role of a technical writer (TW) has expanded beyond traditional writing skills. As technology becomes increasingly integrated into our daily lives, TWs must adapt to the changing landscape by acquiring new skills. One skill that is becoming increasingly essential is coding. Why should TWs learn to code, and how can it benefit their careers and the quality o

Mastering Kirkpatrick: Unleashing Training Excellence

When Dr. Donald L. Kirkpatrick wrote his Ph.D. dissertation, “Evaluating Human Relations Programs for Industrial Foreman and Supervisors,” he created the Kirkpatrick Model for evaluating training. He learned the information from industrial-organizational psychologist Dr. Raymond Katzell, then applied it to his supervisory training program in the 1950s.

Trainers around the world use the Kirkpatrick Model, which is the standard for demonstrating the effectiveness of training programs. The latest

Retaining Wisdom: The Value of Investing in Older Employees

Diversity and inclusion are increasingly important considerations for corporations fostering innovation and driving growth. However, one area where discrimination persists is in the perception and treatment of older workers. Despite the wealth of experience and expertise they bring to the table, older employees often face challenges in accessing training opportunities and advancing their careers within corporate settings. How can employers overcome ageism and invest in training older workers, an

The Learning Styles Myth: The Truth Behind Customized Training

Learning styles are all the rage these days. You’ve heard someone say, or may have said yourself, “I’m a visual learner.” That is an example of a learning style. The idea is appealing. Some companies claim they can use learning styles to create a custom curriculum for each of your employees, which usually requires you spending valuable resources on their expensive tests to learn your employees’ learning styles. Unfortunately, these claims don’t stand up to scientific research on the subject, whi

From Bits to Bolts: Write User Manuals for Hardware and Software

User guides and manuals play a crucial role in helping operators navigate and make the most of products, whether they are physical equipment or software applications. While both serve the purpose of providing instructions and guidance, the best practices for creating hardware and software user manuals can vary significantly. Let’s look at the key differences in best practices for crafting user guides for hardware and software, highlighting the similarities and unique challenges and considerations that come with each.

Remote Work: Training for Tomorrow's Workforce

Out of necessity since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020, there has been a steep upward trend in remote and hybrid work. According to Gallup, approximately 40 percent of remote-capable employees have shifted from working entirely onsite to either a hybrid or remote-only work environment. Even more telling, leaders of large companies confirm that hybrid work is here to stay: 80 percent of chief human resource officers from Fortune 500 companies report they do not plan to decrease r

Technical Writing: Principles and Characteristics

Back when technical writers were often limited to writing user manuals, the definition of technical writing was “the practice of documenting processes, such as software manuals or instructional materials.”

That was then. Today, a technical writer (TW) creates a variety of writing, including reports, executive summary statements, white papers, even blogs. They may write instruction manuals, product descriptions, guidebooks, research reports, important policies, and press releases. Their writing

Using Simplified Technical English (STE) to Create Clear, Consistent Documentation

English is the international language of science and technology. Those who do not speak English as their native language, however, may have enough English to get by in conversations but not understand subtle differences with synonyms, homophones, and complex sentence structures. This is where Simplified Technical English (STE) shines.

In the late 1970s, the Association of European Airlines (AEA) asked the European Association of Aerospace Industries (AECMA, now ASD) and the Aerospace Industries

The Role of AI in Instructional Design: Collaborator, not Competitor

As technology rapidly evolves, education and training are undergoing a significant transformation. One of the most notable advancements is the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) into instructional design (ID) processes. Josh Bersin, founder of Bersin & Associates, says, “Of all the domains to be impacted by AI, perhaps the biggest transformation is taking place in corporate learning. After a year of experimentation, it’s now clear that AI will revolutionize this space.” A 2023 study fou

Editing & Proofreading Made Easy: The Power of Polished Content

Have you ever written something, only to see an error after it has been published online — or worse, in print? I’m betting that has happened to everyone at least once — a quickly written paper for school, a magazine article with a strict deadline so you only used spell check, or perhaps a blog post where you used both present tense and past tense interchangeably. While you can easily fix these things in online environment, you miss the chance to make a great first impression if it’s not correcte

From Concept to Completion: Microlearning Design Best Practices

This is the eighth and final post in our series about microlearning.

In today’s fast-paced corporate landscape, traditional training methods are being reshaped by the rise of microlearning. Microlearning delivers bite-sized learning units that focus on specific learning objectives, making it an ideal solution for busy professionals seeking to efficiently enhance their skills. In fact, organizations relying on microlearning for mobile devices, how most microlearning is accessed, saw a 16 perc
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