Part II: Apply Your Learning Style to Editing

Welcome to the second of a four part series (1, 2, 3, 4) on Technical Writing and Editing.

It’s always difficult to edit your own work. By the time you get to editing, you’ve memorized the intent of the document. Your eyes glaze over the text, skipping misspellings and grammar problems.

Usually the best way to approach editing is with distance, chronological or emotional. Most writers recommend a 6-month break from a story to edit it properly. Technical writers don’t have that luxury and are often working to someone else’s schedule. Once content is written, the schedule barrels forward to production. Editing need to be completed quickly and effectively.

Different types of learners understand information in different ways. By matching your learning style with your editing skills, you might be able to engage with the material in a new way. Changing the format may allow you to read the work differently or approach it from a different perspective.

The image below shows the different types of learners, how they best absorb information and how information should best be presented.
Learning Styles

If you’re still not sure what type of learner you are, take Education Planner’s “What’s Your Learning Style” test!

It’s easiest to cater to learning styles when creating a lesson plan. By understanding your audience, you can adjust the format for better retention. With writing, there’s not much you can do to change the format.

Even though we might not be able to magically transform a proposal into an image, there are ways to adjust the material to appeal to a learning style.

If you are an Auditory Learner: use a Text-to-Speech converter. There are extensions that you can install into your browser or download into a word processing program.

As an auditory learner, I always use a Text-to-Speech converter. I hate the sound of my own reading voice and hearing the words spoken by a robot creates enough distance that I can easily pinpoint mistakes.

If you are a Visual Learner: upload the text to an app like Hemingway or Grammarly to highlight mistakes and awkward sentences. The app provides a new graphic interface, uses colour to show mistakes, and charts to list the types of errors.

If you are a Read-Write Learner: change the font used in your document to a monospace font. A monospace font contains fixed-width letters and numbers. You’ll know a font is monospaced if it looks like typewriter font. I suggest using Courier New.

If you are a Kinesthetic Learner: print out your work and find a red pen. Interact with the text by circling and crossing out mistakes.

For more information on the different types of learners, check out:
The Four Different Types of Learners, And What They Mean to Your Presentations [INFOGRAPHIC]

Learn more about applying Technical Writing to editing on Part III: Conduct Professional Edits