Writing a solid, engaging script that individuals will remember can seem like a daunting task. Adult attention spans seem shorter than kids these days, with so many responsibilities distracting us and vying for our time.
How can we get information across with success? We have to define and then analyze the components that go into making a good eLearning script.
Here are a few areas to spend time on and flesh out so that you are creating the script of your viewing audience’s dreams.
The biggest component of the script-writing process is planning your script. But, if you plan thoroughly and do it right, your writing time will be short and streamlined, and your script will have a strong foundation.
You need to plan up front for several different aspects of your script including audience, purpose, run time, content and anyone else you might need to work with on the script.
- Audience: You need to define your audience so that you know what kind of content to write. Is your audience highly technical or entry level employees? Your audience answers help drive your script. If you are given some content to begin with, then knowing the audience helps determine whether the content is appropriate and applicable.
- Purpose: Identifying the purpose behind writing the script keeps the script’s message consistent. Is it training, informing, awareness, performance improvement or behavioral change?
- Duration: Determining the run time of the eLearning module helps with content selection and pacing of content bits.
- Content: Planning content gives you an outline/roadmap to follow when you sit down to write the content bits. Writers often use storyboards to visualize the content and help chunk and organize the messages.
- Design: Keep in mind, content drives the design. Learn how the designer that is creating the visual content for the module approaches scripts with regards to creating animations and interactions on the screen. From there, you can approach script writing with design also in mind when you are looking at the content
With the planning squared away, the script has a strong foundation. Let’s dive into the mechanics of how to say the script’s content.
Tone and Engagement
As the saying goes, “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.”
So, let’s address the “how” part of that before we get into the “what.”
The readability of the script determines whether you keep or lose your audience. And tone addresses whether you connect with your audience.
To make a strong connection, write your script with a conversational tone and avoid serious and authoritative tones.
A conversational tone allows your script to flow, making the audience feel comfortable while presenting the content in a casual way. It makes technical content more engaging, inviting the audience to own their learning. Transitions between sentences and major topic areas ensure your script flows smoothly.
Active voice is critical for audience engagement. Speaking directly to the audience by saying “you, we and us” draws them in to what you are saying because they are automatically included.
Combine this with strong verbs and short sentences. From a design perspective, look for ways for the audience to interact with the presentation.
Now that we have talked about planning, tone and engagement, let’s look at the “what” – the words themselves.
Content bits are the pieces and chunks of topics that combine together to compose your script.
The words you choose and how you group them will draw your audience in or send them running away.
Start by creating a basic structure for your script. Begin with language that welcomes them to the main topic. Next, establish a placeholder for what the script will cover until you have fleshed it out. The middle part will be the body of your script. Create a placeholder towards the end for key points that you want the audience to remember. Lastly, include language to conclude the script.
Watch your word choices. Ask yourself: Is this relevant to my audience and the main topic I am covering? Is this content essential to my script? Is this vocabulary appropriate for my audience? This examination helps you determine whether to keep or discard content.
Once you know the content you want to keep, chunk the information into topic groupings. Organize these groupings so that one grouping naturally leads to the next one. Space the topics out – evenly subdivide topics. Present your content in bits so the audience absorbs the information and does not get overwhelmed by it.
Keep your statements and explanations concise. Refer to topics consistently throughout the script to keep the message clear. Reinforce your script with real life and actual situational examples.
After you have authored your script, put it away for a while. Then, retrieve it and edit it for grammar, punctuation and so on, which is best done with fresh eyes. Read it aloud to see how it sounds. You might be surprised at what you decide to change based on how it sounded. Do a proofread after that to finish.
Writing a great script encompasses several steps and stages. You must plan well and be careful about how and what you say. With a strong foundation, sturdy structure and content that speaks to its audience, your script is destined for stardom.