The Editorial Review: Questions to Ask

So far in my blog series about review cycles, I’ve shared details about some of the questions we ask during the Content Review and the Instructional Design Review.  This week, let’s break down what we look at during the Editorial Review.

In the Editorial Review you will want to make sure the information is written, structured, and formatted correctly.  For the Editorial Review, the reviewer can be anyone with strong written language skills and has a copy of all standards documentation (such as the style guide and design document).  I prefer to have this person NOT be the subject-matter expert or the content reviewer simply because I want to make sure the content is clear (and someone who knows the content well might not notice something that is unclear).

There is one question I have a difficult time answering, “When should this review be done?”  The answer? “It depends.”  Some teams prefer to save the editorial review until last, getting the big issues out of the way before starting on the smaller ones.  That way you don’t have to worry about grammar or word choice on a screen that is going to be re-written anyway.

On the other hand, you may want to do an editorial review before sending storyboards to a client or subject-matter experts so you don’t have to worry about being embarrassed by spelling and grammar problems.

Some teams even wait until online draft to put the course through this review.

I like to do two reviews-one during storyboard and one at the very end of the production cycle.  If you can do one during storyboard phase, the fixes are quick-and-easy (and less expensive to make).  And, doing a review at the end of the project helps decrease the chance that a fix somewhere in the process might have created a new problem.

Here is the list of questions we ask during the Editorial Review. In many cases, I have written blog posts that pertain to these topics below. Click each of the links to learn more about the topic.

  • Are there any spelling or typographical errors?
  • Does the writing use good grammar and word choice?
  • Could the same thing be said more simply?
  • Is the material written to the intended reading level?
  • Are there any phrases or idioms that a non-native speaker of English might not understand?
  • Is the formatting consistent with the standards documentation and any designated style guide?
  • For any formatting not specifically designated in the documentation, is it used consistently throughout the course?
  • Do the bulleted lists and screen titles use parallel construction?

In a future blog post, I’ll outline some of the questions we ask (and things we look for) during our online reviews.

Desiree Pinder
Artisan E-Learning

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