Online learning: how to copyedit online learning

Updated: 9 hours ago

Online learning: how to copyedit online learning

There is a current trend for online learning which is perfect for my proofreading business using my experience in teaching. Here is a contents list of what is covered in my blog where I pass on what I have learnt during my experience copyediting online learning.

What is copyediting?

What is online learning?

Follow the editorial brief

Interact with the content

Ensure the progression of skills

What is copyediting?

Copyediting is a more in-depth process that includes all the proofreading checks. But also checks for flow, structure and technical quality.

What is online learning?

Online learning can come in many forms, videos, multiple-choice questions, fill in the blank style questions, information shared through written texts with diagrams and pop-up boxes with facts and interactive games, but the basis is to teach online.

Many schools, universities and publishers are working together to create content to replace the traditional methods of teaching with online learning. In my opinion, the best content is interactive.

I have undertaken many online learning courses as an adult, and I have learnt the most where I interacted with the learning and received feedback.

Online learning can use videos to teach new skills. I have worked for the maths factor editing videos to ensure the progression of skills.

The learning is broken down into simple steps similar to a real-life lesson in a classroom. First, there is a video to teach the new skill with lots of visuals and working through examples together. Next, there is a warm-up activity which is fun and interactive to get the brain working. Last, there is a practice activity to consolidate what has been learnt.

The learning is taught through a variety of different media, from videos to quick questions to longer tests, and is all interactive with lots of repetition to grasp the skills. Children's attention is caught using visuals, moving parts, sound and quick-fire content to keep the learning moving.

Everyone has a different preferred learning style, and it is important this is reflected in the online learning. I am a visual learner. When I am learning something new, I take the skill in much better if I can see it written down. This kind of visual learner responds well to information portrayed in charts and diagrams, which is probably why I enjoy maths so much.

Other learning styles include an auditory learner who prefers to hear the information, a reading/writing learner who prefers to learn from the written word making notes themselves and reading the information. There is also kinaesthetic learners who learn using all of their senses and prefer interactive experiences.

So I believe the best online learning has variety and appeals in one way to each of the individual learning styles. Online learning could include a voice-over to share the learning using sound, visual representations of the skills to use images to explain the learning, written words to share the information and time to make notes on the facts and interactive sections with moving parts and hands-on learning if possible.

Follow the editorial brief

When working with online learning, you usually get given an editorial brief to guide you. Most schools and universities have preferred styles of teaching and strict guidelines on what the content should include.

So I always start by reading through the brief and making notes to help me memorise the style. It is like getting to know a new language, finding out what words they like, how they spell them, how to represent numbers, what style of questions they prefer, what they call different aspects and how they use images. Once you are familiar with their language, you are ready to start.

I usually begin by searching for keywords from the brief; for example, they prefer the word 'learned' over 'learnt'. So I search for it and make the necessary changes. I am a methodical person, so I work my way through the brief searching the document for the key aspects.

Then I start at the beginning reading through the document with the brief on the screen next to me double-checking everything against the brief to ensure I am comfortable with the style they want. I work my way through the whole document against the brief. This is a basic read-through, including proofreading and checking style preferences.

An editorial brief is a massive help to the copyeditor and author, enabling them to work together to achieve the desired content. If there is no brief, as a copyeditor, I can create an editorial brief whilst editing the learning noting style choices and consistency of the content. This can then be used for future online learning.

Interact with the content

Next, I want to check the content works. So I do a run-through as though I am the learner interacting with the content and learning the new skills. I check it all works, when I click on the buttons are the answers revealed and are the answers correct?

Online learning needs to be interactive to engage the learner, and all the aspects have to work, buttons, links, images, sound, videos and moving parts.

I consider everything:

Is the learning manageable to would it hold peoples attention?

Would it engage them, or would they switch off?

Is there enough content or enough interactive sections?

Are the videos too long?

Part of the copyediting process is more than a basic read through it is offering suggestions on how to improve the content to ensure flow and structure. It is an in-depth look at the content testing all aspects and ensuring quality content.

Ensure the progression of skills

I love copyediting online learning because I get to use my training as a teacher and years of experience. When reading through the content, not only can I copyedit but wear my teacher hat and analyse it for quality teaching.

Looking at content from a teacher background involves thinking about the progression of skills. It involves understanding the core knowledge being taught and using appropriate resources such as the National Curriculum to monitor the learning.

I have years of teaching experience following the guidelines and generating planning to teach the skills. This is valuable knowledge to bring to analyse online learning and to emulate the experience offered through a real-life teacher online.

I ask myself the following questions when copyediting the learning content:

Does the content follow on from each other?

Is it broken down into manageable steps?

Is it easy to follow?

Would there be a better way of explaining it?

Is it too difficult?

Or is it enough of a challenge?

Are the visuals really necessary, do they improve the learning experience?

Are these skills covered in other videos?

There are many aspects to think about when copyediting online learning and it will all come together to produce a quality learning experience.

"Online learning is not the next big thing, it is the now big thing.” - Donna J. Abernathy

I am a freelance proofreader and qualified teacher with a love of learning, feel free to contact me if you need support with your online learning. Thank you for reading 'Online learning: how to copyedit online learning'. Want to find more out about how I proofread a book for a publisher?

Check out my blog "Publishers: how to approach proofreading a book for a publisher" on my website, or say hello on Twitter at @alisonproofread, or Instagram at @alisonproofreader, or connect via Facebook and LinkedIn.

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Online learning - interactive learning which people access through the internet.

Proofreading - examining your text carefully to find and correct mistakes in grammar, style, punctuation, consistency and spelling.

Copyediting - a more in-depth process that includes all the proofreading checks. But also checks for flow, structure and technical quality.


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