Slide #1.

Language as a tool in elearning Informed by the field of technical communication and the science of e-learning Trish Jenkins Department of English
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Slide #2.

Source: Developing Quality Technical Information: A Handbook for Writers and Editors “Direct from IBM’s own content design experts, this guide shows you how to design product interfaces and technical information that always place users front and center.”
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Slide #3.

E-learning and the Science of Instruction: Proven Guidelines for Consumers and Designers of Multimedia Learning
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Slide #4.

What I plan to do in this presentation: Introduce you to task-oriented writing Show how it manifests itself in the online environment Talk about how it engages students Back up my claim with arguments from the science of instruction research
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Slide #5.

How we provide a rich online experience
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Slide #6.

Most important tool: Language
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Slide #7.

We have choices with regard to how we use language
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Slide #8.

What is task-oriented writing?
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Slide #9.

Guidelines for task-oriented writing Write for an intended audience Present information from the user’s point of view Focus on real tasks—not products or product functions Use headings that reveal tasks
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Slide #10.

A “before” example The system could not be shut down during processing. If such a shutdown occurs, the system should be restarted with the recover command.
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Slide #11.

Revised using task-oriented writing If you shut down the system during processing, you might lose data. Use the RECOVER command to restart the system and recover any data.
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Slide #12.

Here’s another example This section explains how to use the following menu choices under File:  Open: Opens an existing file  New: Creates a file  Save as: Saves to a new file with a different name
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Slide #13.

Revised using task-oriented writing This section explains how to work with a document. You can do the following tasks:  Create a document. To do this…  Open an existing document. To do this…  Rename a document. To do this…
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Slide #15.

Typical weekly tasks folder
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Slide #16.

Excerpt from Task #4
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Slide #18.

How does this engage students? Task oriented writing places the user front and center. We can replace “user” with “student”
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Slide #19.

Avoid the information delivery view of learning According to this view, the instructor’s job is to present information and the learner’s job is to acquire information But Research on discourse processing shows that people work harder to understand material when they feel they are in conversation with a partner rather than simply receiving information
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Slide #20.

Look to research on the science of instruction According to this research, conversational style (which features using second person) can activate a social response and that can increase active cognitive processing and lead to better quality of learning.
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