Technical writing and instructional learning have many similarities. As microlearning becomes more popular, the approach technical writers use when creating content often aligns with the creation of these modules, creating an intersection of two fields that may not seem so aligned on the surface.
If you are wondering how instructional design and technical writing can come together, here’s what you need to know.
Core Principles of Technical Writing
Technical writers are all tasked with one goal: explain something complicated in a way that the target audience can understand.
Often, this involves breaking down the topic, creating logical flow, and avoiding embellishments in the descriptions. The primary purpose is to be clear and incredibly concise, guiding readers through a subject completely while embracing brevity.
Typically, technical writing lacks personality. The content usually seems dry and devoid of emotion. While this may not make the content entertaining, that isn’t commonly the point of technical writing.
Core Principles of Microlearning
Microlearning shares many key traits with technical writing. The goal is to share information, ensuring the audience understands the key point in each module. This traditionally requires the content creator to break down something complex, proceed through the details in a logical fashion, and strive for clarity.
Ambiguity usually isn’t a friend to the learning process, especially if it leaves the learner confused about the topic. Content creators have to embrace many of the principles of technical writing, like clarity, to make sure the main message gets through.
Differences Between Technical Writing and Microlearning Content Creation
The only difference is usually the amount of personality that the content can exude. While technical writing tends to be very straightforward and lacking of all embellishment, microlearning content can have a lighter tone, moments of humor, and other signs of personality.
While many of the core principles are shared, this single difference can make it challenging for writers to switch between the two styles. If you build a career on technical writing, injecting personality into content may feel odd. Similarly, microlearning content creators may believe that removing all emotion makes the writing mechanical, and that may be uncomfortable for them.
However, it is possible to write in both spaces, as long as you can adapt your writing style to the project’s needs. Otherwise, selecting the option that best aligns with your preferred approach and tone may be beneficial, ensuring you can build a solid career.
Luckily, opportunities abound in both areas, so choosing one over the other doesn’t overly limit your ability to find positions. But, by learning about both, you can broaden your horizons and create different kinds of content, and the variety may help keep you engaged.
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