Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Language is a funny thing. There is a duality to language. Language includes the words we use to communicate; they are the nouns, verbs and adjectives that we use to connect with one another and the world we live in. Language is how we interact, how we teach, how we tell someone else how we feel and what we think.

Language goes beyond just picking a word to get our point across but our selection of words also makes something more special, making a deliberate choice of words can change the whole meaning.

Red shoes

Ruby red slippers

Authors like Mark Twain and William Faulkner could change language completely to tell a story, whether it is the adventures of a young boy on the Mississippi River in the 1800's or the story of a family experiencing the death of one of its own.

Just as authors can manipulate language to create characters and make them come alive in the mind of the reader, instructional designers need to be as careful in their selection of words.  The instructional designer needs to remember the audience and the reason for the instruction.  If creating an introductory course to a technical field, a designer cannot use words only an expert would know.  They would need to start with simple explanations and as the audience's knowledge grows, so can the vocabulary of the designer.

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