Online courses – High Speed Training – Business Writing Skills
Online courses – learning and development without even leaving the house
We all need to keep up with the latest developments in our own fields or areas like social media, blogging and so on. A cost and time effective way to do this is to sign up for online courses, which you can often complete at your own convenience.
Our home working reviewers have been busy learning all kinds of skills on online courses to report back on what’s good value for your time and money.
High Speed Training – Business Writing Skills
What is it?
High Speed Training describe it as ‘An online course designed to help employees acquire better written skills and understand the techniques used to improve their writing for different formats’. The course is supposed to take about 2 hours and costs £25.
The course is well presented with clear, clean text set against a simple background for easy reading. The photographs used are attractive and of a good quality. The controls to advance slides and control volume are easily accessible yet unobtrusive. Overall the course looks very professional and well presented.
How easy is it to follow? ****
When you first log in you go to the Learning Management System (LMS), where you have access to your account and the courses you are doing. The material in a course is split into units, allowing you to break the course into smaller chunks and chart your progress through. The system is very intuitive and it is generally evident what you need to do next.
Each module is a series of slides, starting with a clear set of aims for the module and finishing with some multi-choice questions and a recap of the module. The combination of the text on the slides and a lovely, clear and beautifully enunciated voice make the material easy to follow and make notes from.
Unfortunately I think this is where the course falls down. There are lots of good hints and tips to help you but, in trying to tackle the skills of grammar, spelling and punctuation, the course fails, because in 2 hours you can do little more than scratch the surface.
As High Speed Training point out, many employers are concerned by the language skills of employees, however to make a significant improvement needs a bigger investment in time and support.
As an example, the section on grammar skates across some quite difficult concepts and tricky issues, such as homophones like their, there and they’re. From my teaching days the most effective way to learn things like spelling and grammar is through practice, and practice in lots of different contexts: word games; quizzes; spoken usage and, yes, writing with a real reason. Many of these do lend themselves to online training, but it needs to be interactive.
The section on the different styles of business writing is quite good in this format, and I think it needs to be the main focus of the course. It would be useful to spend more time on the features of the different styles and more input on how to create work in these styles. For example, in the section on reports, advice on how to plan a piece of writing. This could build upon some of the good advice that is already in there about using paragraphs.
Does it do what it claims? *
The course sets out quite an ambitious set of aims and sadly does not achieve them all. At best this course will make you aware of some of the aspects of business writing. One key message that I think does get through well is the importance of checking and editing your work.
Worth the investment? *
I tried very hard to understand who it was aimed at and struggled to pinpoint the audience and so I found this aspect difficult to score. I think as a short course this is trying to do too much and ends up not doing any part as well as it could.
Where courses like this can work is by helping people to understand the features and styles that are most effective for different styles of writing, but at present that is only a small part of what it delivers.
Overall score ** 2.4
Because the course attempts to do so much it is difficult to see who it would suit. If you want to improve your written English there is too little practice and too much technical language (eg collocation) that is not explained or illustrated clearly. If you want to find out about different sorts of writing in business writing it is a start, but I feel that area needs to be developed.
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