Writing Documents in Plain Talk

Course Code: 01-03-EW50

Learn plain language best practices and how to achieve them in the public sector. Learn how to convey complex information in clear, focused content. Lead others to find, understand, trust, recall, and use what you write.

Write and design content that customers easily understand and successfully use. Know your typical customers and write content that helps them take action after a single reading. Serve the public well by breaking down barriers that language can create. Convey key concepts clearly, using plain language.

This course helps you get your documents to the point of usability but does not include training on usability testing.

Performance Objectives: Upon completion of this course, you should be able to:

    • Use design thinking to meet customer needs with relevant, focused content.
    • Help readers see how they relate to the message and implied or stated tasks.
    • Use simple, clear language.
    • Include only important information.
    • Keep sentences and paragraphs short.
    • Write in active voice to boost clarity, compliance, and transparency.
    • Use key personal pronouns such as 'we' and 'you.'
    • Ensure accessibility through reading ease and information design.
    • Make your writing tasks easier and assess the quality of your written work.

    Competencies covered in this course: Written Communication

    Intended Audience: Public sector employees who must write readable documents.

    Special Note: In November 2023, Executive Order 23-02 took effect, replacing Executive Order 05-03. DES is reviewing this curriculum to ensure it meets learning requirements outlined in the new executive order. DES will update this course description when it is determined if the current course meets the updated learning requirements