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Writing Step-by-step Instructions




Step #1 - Define your audience

Think about the type of learner who is most likely to read the instruction by asking these questions:

  • Why do learners need to do this task?

  • Where are they doing this task?

  • What kind of environment are they in while doing this task?

  • How are they consuming the instructions? What devices?

  • Are they doing the task alone or together with someone else?

  • What is the average age of the audience?

  • Where are they located?

  • What is their prior knowledge on performing this task?

  • What is their level of English? Are there ESL learners?

  • Will they be evaluated on how well they perform this task?


Step #2 - Break down instructions into tasks


Structure for each main task:

Task A


Stage: name of the stage

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3


Stage: name of the stage

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3



Step #3 - Create an outline


Outline structure:

Procedure

Task

Task

Task

Task


Step #4 - Write the step-by-step instructions


Structure:


1. Title (Use active voice, start with a verb and focus on learner's goal. Example: Request a refund.)

2. Intro (Introduce what this task in, where is it located and what is its purpose. Keep it brief but clear.)

3. Before you begin (Include what the learner needs to do or have before they start the task.)

4. Top-level view of complete steps (a quick visual that cover all steps.)

5. Step-by-step (Number the steps, one action per step, front-load sentences.)


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