A word from our sponsors
Imagine if pesky words got in the way of our most famous advertising slogans.
How successful would Pringles be without that immaculately-chosen set of words designed to hit the minds of millions of people at once? If instead it was…
Once you pop the lid from a tube of Pringles, you'll probably find it quite difficult to stop eating them.
Or try this rewrite of Kit Kat's famous slogan…
Next time you have a morning, lunchtime or afternoon break, please consider eating a Kit Kat.
Would Ronseal's tagline ever have found its way into everyday use if it was…
If you read what's displayed on a tin of Ronseal (e.g. Wood Preserver, Patio & Block Paving Seal or Quick Drying Varnish), you'll see exactly what it does.
Boring? Wordy? Perhaps it took a couple of reads to get the full message.
Yet e-learning designers and scriptwriters around the world will probably shudder in recognition.
"You can't just say 'pop'. Otherwise people wouldn't know what it is. And 'can't stop' is misleading because many people will find it quite easy to stop. In fact, we know that 13% of people don't like Pringles at all, so we must cater for them."
We're all aware of the power of advertising, but in e-learning we're afraid of a fuss-free, direct message. We see teaching and advertising as entirely separate. Advertising communicates one very direct message, while it's considered OK for learning to waffle - the argument being there's so much to cover. And that's when we get text-heavy, graphic-light screens.
It's almost as if teaching isn't really teaching unless people are bored rigid. In truth, waffle might cover a lot of ground but it's pointless if the words are clogging up your learner's brain.
No, it's better to think of e-learning (if we go for the standard 'series of slides' approach) as one advertising message after another. What are you trying to communicate on a screen? And what's the most direct way of saying it? One paragraph per screen is enough. And no, a paragraph doesn't include fifteen sentences.
We're exposed to advertisements every day. We know the best ones have the clearest message. Let's start bringing that clarity to e-learning.
Here's a great example of how conventional e-learning can really work:
No tricks, no fussiness, hardly any interaction - there's not even a consistent design. Just direct message after direct message. Notice how many of the slides resemble magazine adverts.
It's all because brevity works.
In fact, it's the difference between trying to get something to sink in, and having no choice but to listen.