"Have something to say, and say it as clearly as you can. That is the only secret of style."
- Matthew Arnold
Instructional writing succeeds when it is simple, clear, direct and concise. When it is not, the results can be disastrous.
The Challenger disaster was caused by faulty O-rings. The manufacturer warned NASA about the O-rings in a memo, but their message was lost in confusing jargon and poor writing.
During the Three Mile Island accident, plant operators took steps to prevent a nuclear meltdown that inadvertently compounded the crisis. Their training did not prepare them for the situation they encountered, and they could not understand their manuals.
While technology does not always affect public safety, it is critically important to the people who use it. The design professionals who use our products do not have time to pore through lengthy manuals. They want succinct instructions that tell them how to get their job done.
This is a style guide for writing instructor-led training documents. The first part, Principles, defines good writing, especially technical content. The second section, Practice , gives specific rules that apply to writing exercises.
To learn how to create effective instructional content, see "Modular Content Design Standards for Instructor-Led Training" available in Word, html and as an Autodesk Learning Assistance volume.