Business Writing Courses

We offer business writing courses for individuals and groups. All group courses can be customized, and are available both online and onsite.

Effective Business Writing Techniques
Effective Business Writing Techniques

Bedrock business writing training to write most common documents and email faster and with better results.

Instructors: Katie Almeida Spencer, Grace Cuddy, Janet D'Angelo, Mary Cullen

Proposal Writing Course
Proposal Writing Course

Write proposals that win business through targeted audience focus, compelling information and sequencing, and a clearly conveyed value proposition.

Instructors: Mary Cullen, Katie Almeida Spencer, Janet D'Angelo, Tom Dupuis

Effective Business Writing for Non-Native Writers
Effective Business Writing for Non-Native Writers

Bedrock business writing training to write most common documents and email faster and with better results, with additional focus on grammar.

Instructors: Katie Almeida Spencer, Grace Cuddy

Executive Summary Writing Course
Executive Summary Writing Course

Synthesize complex information into a crisp, coherent statement readers understand quickly.

Instructors: Katie Almeida Spencer, Janet D'Angelo, Mary Cullen, Tom DuPuis

Report Writing Course
Report Writing Course

The most efficient process to create a report,  tier information logically, map information, and write a synthesized executive summary. Make complex ideas easy to understand with clear language.

Instructors: Mary Cullen, Katie Almeida Spencer, Janet D'Angelo, Tom Dupuis

Writing a Major Document Plus Coaching Accelerated Course
Writing a Major Document Plus Coaching Accelerated Course

Master writing a major business document requirement with an accelerated online course plus live expert coaching specifically on your document.

Instructors: Mary Cullen, Katie Almeida Spencer, Janet D'Angelo, Tom Dupuis

Managing Information Flow Course
Managing Information Flow Course

Instructors: Mary Cullen, Katie Almeida Spencer, Tom Dupuis, Andrew Steinbeiser

Email Course
Email Course

Learn to write both transactional and substantive email messages that readers can act upon easily. Avoid email pitfalls.

Instructors:  Grace Cuddy, Mary Cullen, Tom Dupuis

Proofreading Course
Proofreading Course

The most efficient process to proofread business documents and produce polished, consistent, professional documents.

Instructors: Mary Cullen, Grace Cuddy, Tom Dupuis

How to choose a
Business Writing Course

PDF version of the article

PDF version of the article

This is the most definitive guide online about how to choose a business writing course.

This is the most definitive guide online about how to choose a business writing course.

To be successful in business today you must be able to communicate clearly through written text. The ability to write clearly and convey complex information logically is a huge competitive advantage in any industry.

Bottom Line? Individuals and teams that communicate clearly succeed at work.

After 19 years of teaching business writing courses, we wanted to create a guide to help you choose the right course. This guide details how to create a custom corporate writing program and how to choose a business writing course as an individual.

Overview

Fundamentals of Choosing a Course
CHAPTER 1

Fundamentals of Choosing a Course

Choosing an online business writing course is not only a financial investment but an investment in your professional future. For this reason, we encourage you to scrutinize and vet each option. It’s critical to your success that you make the right choice.

Why are Goals Important?

The first step in choosing a course is to define your goals. It will be difficult to choose the best class if you do not identify the outcomes you want to achieve. Here are a few goals we often see for both individuals and businesses.

Common Individual Goals
  • Significantly Increase writing speed
  • Convey complex information with more clarity
  • Professionally disagree and write more persuasively
  • Write in a professional and competent tone and voice
  • Improve proofreading skills
  • Write more efficiently
  • Improve written English communication as a non-native writer.
Common Organizational Goals
  • Increase technical accuracy in report writing
  • Reduce expensive communication mistakes
  • Clearly convey insights and business opportunities
  • Standardize the writing style across a division
  • Invest in employees growth and develop future leadership
  • Increase professionalism and persuasiveness of the sales department
  • Decrease employees’ time spent writing reports while increasing accuracy
  • Increase employee productivity and accuracy while decreasing cost
Determine Your Starting Point
Determine Your Starting Point

You want to choose a course that helps you reach your goals. To do this, you need to understand your starting point. You probably already know you some of your weaknesses. We recommend taking a piece of paper and jotting down a quick list.

Quickly draw a “T: on a sheet of paper. Then on the top of the “T” write down the goals which you are looking to achieve. Then in the bottom left corner write down your strengths or the strengths of your group. In the bottom right side list out your weaknesses.

This framework will make it easier for you to evaluate the courses, instructors, and providers. You want to ensure that the course you choose matches your goals and is structured to help address your strengths and weaknesses.

CHAPTER 2

How to Evaluate a Business
Writing Course

You will quickly learn that there are many options and configurations of business writing courses. This chapter will review what to look for when evaluating your options.

Creating a custom corporate writing program? 

Want to learn more about how to create a custom corporate program?

Important: The next two sections are dependent on if you are a company looking to provide a course to employees or an individual looking to take an online class.

Are you an individual looking to choose an individual course? 

Are you an individual looking to choose an individual course?

CHAPTER 2.1

6 Steps to Create a Custom Corporate Program

Are you thinking of creating a custom writing education program for your employees?

1
Step
Create Project Brief

The first step is to outline what your objectives are for the program. The section above outlines how to identify your project goals, team’s weaknesses, and strengths. Expand on this to create your project brief. This brief should detail the requirements for your organization. A project brief will help you clarify not only what you are looking for but help companies bidding to understand what you are looking for.

We know you have choices, but when the time comes, we hope you will contact us to review your project needs.

2
Step
Outline “Unique Requirements”

We find each custom program has what we call “unique requirements.” These are elements that are distinct to your project. Make sure to identify these beforehand and ensure the course is built to support these.

Read more

Here are a few examples of unique course requirements we have helped design:

  • Industry-specific elements
  • Company writing models
  • Scalability of the course to multiple geographic areas
  • Integration with internal training programs
  • Specific reporting, tracking, and registration
  • Document compliance for regulatory board review
  • Coaching for major documents
  • Individual coaching and mentoring
  • Ongoing educational program
Read Less
3
Step
Create Evaluation Criteria

The next step is to decide what criteria you will use to evaluate your training options. We have created a helpful rubric to aid in structuring your decision-making process. Notice we have chosen value instead of price. The lowest cost option does not always offer the best value.

Read more

Use This Rubric To Evaluate

The rubric helps to visualize your evaluation in a structured manner. Score each item on a scale of one to four. One being the lowest score and four being the highest.

Choosing a Business Writing Course Rubric

Download PDF Printable Version of Rubric 

Content of Course

Content is comprehensive to the needs of the project. It is organized logically and focuses on employee outcomes as outlined in the project brief.

Industry Expertise

The company has experience in our industry. They understand the needs and challenges specific to our sector. They have worked with similar companies in our industry and size. Additionally, the company specializes in business writing, rather than general training.

Instructors

The instructors have both academic and practical knowledge of business writing specifically. There are enough instructors to meet our needs.

See the section below on how to evaluate an instructor in more depth.

Delivery

The course uses multiple methods of instruction and interaction to reach learning outcomes. The learning management system (LMS) is easy to use and flexible enough to meet our needs.

Ability to serve “Unique Requirements”

Ability to accommodate unique needs has been demonstrated. The company is clear about how the training will accommodate these challenges.

Verify that the company will interview some of your employees and review actual work documents. This will confirm that the training will truly meet your unique requirements.

Value

The course offers a positive return on investment. It offers the best course for our employees at a fair price.

Bonus: How to Calculate ROI - It’s easy to calculate the ROI of our courses. We created a calculator that lets you adjust the salary of your employees and the potential decrease in the time they spend writing. Then the calculator will show the ROI on your new business writing program.

Read Less
4
Step
Interview, Evaluate, and Select

During the next stage, you want to use your unique evaluation criteria to review the course options. This is a time to talk with the provider and iron out details. Make sure to discuss outcomes, timeline, and budget. Once you have selected the training provider, they can start designing your custom program.

5
Step
Design Course

The fifth step is for the company to create the program. They should work with you to ensure all project criteria are met. This phase should be collaborative between both parties.

6
Step
Kickoff and Execution

Once the course development is complete, it is time launch the program. You can start enrolling students and tracking results. Periodically it is important to evaluate the program and make updates where necessary.

Single Enrollment vs. Ongoing

Depending on your business, you may need just one enrollment period or an ongoing registration. This decision will be dependent on your size, timeline, hiring process, and budget.

Make sure to discuss what option is best for your business. Feel free to contact us to help design your custom program.

In person workshops and classes

We also offer in-person business writing workshops. These are highly interactive and focus on sample documents and exercises. Training can be taught in one day or multiple sessions or broken up over time.

You can learn more about our onsite classes here.

Chapter 2.2

Choosing an online course as an Individual

Choosing an online class can be overwhelming. With so many courses you need to be able to identify what course will put you ahead at work.

1
Tip
Ask For The Outline

When looking at courses make sure to review the course outline. Make sure that it addresses all the weaknesses you have written down on your list. Look for a comprehensive course that uses multiple methods for teaching the contact.

2
Tip
Review Instructor Interaction

Look for courses that allow individual interaction with an instructor. This will allow you to ask questions and gain more actionable feedback. The instructor should not only provide feedback on your writing but also on your skills as a writer. Students often rate their one-on-one interaction with their instructor as one of the most valuable parts of our web based courses. Ask how much interaction you will get with the instructor and what their feedback will look like. You can download an example of our instructor feedback here. LINK We go into more detail on how to choose an instructor in chapter five.

3
Tip
Course Structure & Quality

You won’t be able to view the course in its entirety before buying, but there are a few ways to evaluate the structure and quality. Chapter four details how to review the structure of a course. For quality try to dig deeper than the course outline. Ask if you can watch a sample lesson or view a video that highlights parts of the course. You can also look at the quality of the articles that they publish on their blog. This is often indicative of the quality of content creation in the course.

4
Tip
Testimonials

Review testimonials from the course. Look for individuals that hold similar learning goals as you. If they publish course reviews, read through both the best and worst scoring reviews. As an alternative to reviews, you will often find companies release results from their post-course evaluations. These evaluations may be more valuable as reviews are often given by individuals that had a very good or very poor experience.

5
Tip
Schedule a Discussion

Scheduling a discussion can help answer any remaining questions. See if they have a phone number where you can call or schedule a call. Make sure to create a list of questions before the call.

6
Tip
Find a Course

Make sure to review multiple courses to ensure you are choosing the right one. Providers often have multiple courses that address different learning objectives. In the next chapter, we review our business writing courses and detail the differences between each offering.

CHAPTER 3

Types of Courses

Course Structure Analysis
Chapter 4

Course Structure Analysis

Why is Pedagogy Important?

Pedagogy is the theory and practice of how to best teach. This is important because it dictates how your online course is structured.

You want to ensure courses are developed by experts in both the content and adult learning theories. As an adult, you learn differently than a child. Our courses are based on Robert Gagne’s theory of adult education. Our courses are designed for high-performance individuals in professional industries. Here are the essential elements to look for in the structure of a course.

Feedback

Instructor feedback is the most valuable part of an online course. It ensures that you get personalized feedback and support that will change the way you write at work. Make sure to carefully review the level of engagement that you will receive throughout your course. Don’t assume all courses come with instructor feedback. Many courses do not offer detailed feedback.

Don’t accept merely submitting a document you’ve written at work for instructor feedback. That feedback will be language editing only. You want feedback that is more holistic, which addresses your ability to assess your audience, plan a document, present relevant content, organize it well, sequence it appropriately, extract what is truly important, and assess the words you use and the way you use them. You want more than mere editing.

Much better is receiving feedback on your writing based on a scenario. This will allow your instructor to assess your planning, organization, sequencing, and the words you choose and how you use them.

Demand a full, holistic review of your writing, not a mere edit.

Instructors should also use this time to expand the lessons and include supplemental resources based on your writing.

Ideally, you are also receiving full support for the duration of your course.

Most importantly you want to look for a course that offers feedback to your goals and you as a writer. Verify that the course asks you submit your course goals. To become an advanced business writer, you need feedback on your skills as a writer that is specific to your goals. Specific goals allow your instructor to provide feedback that will immediately improve your writing at work.

Individual feedback of is the most important ways to hone your business writing skills, so make sure it’s meaningful.

Varied methods of Instruction
It is important that there are multiple methods of instruction in the course. This makes the material easier to understand
and ensures participants stay engaged. Below we include the methods of instruction we include in our courses.

Video Examples

Video walkthroughs show step-by-step the skills being taught.

Model Writing

Mock writing allows you to apply new concepts in an optimal situation. This is an excellent way to practice new concepts.

Discussion

Discussion is an opportunity to test new ideas and explore complexities of the content.

Case Studies

The case method was pioneered at Harvard Business School. Using case studies allows students to reflect on the situation and explore alternative actions and outcomes.

Scenario-based exercises

These exercises focus on learning by doing. These exercises are practical and focus on solving real world problems.

Written Text

Written text is used throughout the course to teach major writing concepts.

Visual Infographics

Graphics can aid the explanation of a concept that is difficult to understand through written text.

Document Models

Annotated examples of weak and strong typical documents illustrate challenges and improvements.

Current business writing research and best practices

We also provide links to current research and best practices published by educational institutions and colleagues we trust. This content augments the course material.

Quizzes

Quizzes not only test that you understand a concept but help cement recently learned material. They also link directly back to the material if your score indicated more help is needed.

Annotated Documents

Annotated documents help you get personalized feedback on your writing. These are key to identifying and correcting the mistakes you make in your writing.

Presentations

Slide presentations allow information to be taught in a chronological manner with visual aids.

Business Writing Courses
Class Size

It is important to ask the class size of the course you are taking.

All our online courses are individually paced and instructed. This allows you to progress at your preferred pace and interact as needed with your instructor.

 

Job Aids

In addition to learning materials, some courses offer example materials to help you after the course. We call these job aid documents. They are quick reference guides that you can print out and keep at your desk. They ensure you are reminded of key concepts taught during the course. Each of our courses comes with multiple job aids.

Post-Purchase Support

Does your learning stop after the course is completed?

Our courses offer vetted support after the course. This ensures you successfully apply your new writing skills to your day-to-day work.

Ongoing support after our courses includes:

  • One year of question and answer support via email.
  • Monthly business writing newsletter for clients.
  • Client-only web form to submit ongoing business writing questions.
  • Access to exclusive webinars
Business Writing Course Certificate
How are the Courses Taught?

Online courses are delivered in our learning management system (LMS), which allows you flexible login access, and links to all integrated resources. This allows us to track, support, and assess your writing properly. Our online courses allow you or your team to train any time, pace, or place.

Course Certificate

After completing the course, you will earn a personalized certificate. You can display your certificate to the certification section of your LinkedIn profile, download to print, or mention in your résumé.

In-Person Seminars and Workshops Structure

We offer onsite training for corporate groups. These allow you to train a group of individuals at the same time. We have presented customized workshops to companies around the world. If you are interested in an onsite training, please see this page.

In the next chapter, we will walk through how to evaluate the instructor who will be teaching your course.

Evaluating Instructors
Chapter 5

Evaluating Instructors

The secret to our courses effectiveness is the instructors who teach them. An outstanding instructor is the difference between a good course and an outstanding course. The instructor's teaching and feedback will be key to your success. For this reasons, it is important to evaluate the instructor you will be working with.

We thought the best way to help you evaluate an instructor is to share what we look for when hiring an instructor.

Read our instuctors Bios

The requirements for our staff:
Theoretical and Practical Experience

It is important to us that our instructors have both a deep academic and professional background in writing generally and business writing specifically. This ensures that they understand both the theory and the application of writing in business today.

Similar Industry Experience

Business writing differs depending on the application and industry. We look for instructors that have a diverse background of industry experience. This ensures we can staff business writing experts in all major industries. To see the industries we have worked with before please view our client list

Content Knowledge

Outstanding instructors have a comprehensive understanding of their area of instruction. When we hire instructors, we look for successful college-level teachers.

Communication Skills

The teacher must be able to organize and articulate their ideas clearly. They must be able to clearly answer questions and explain concepts through a variety of approaches. To be engaging, they must be passionate about the topic. And, they must be warm and caring.

Is there Instructor Feedback?

Once you have vetted your instructor, review the level of interaction you will have. Many courses fail to provide the opportunity for you to work with the instructor. We have different instructors who support specific courses and student types. This ensures that your instructor has both practical and theoretical expertise in the course material.

CHAPTER 6

Smart Questions You Should Ask

These are some of the best questions we have been asked by individuals and companies when looking to choose an
online business writing class. As an example, we have provided a brief answer below each. These are different than
our frequently asked questions which can be found here.

Can you create a custom course for my business?
Can you scale courses for large corporations?
Have you worked with all the companies listed on your website?
Can I speak with a reference?
Can I see what your instructor feedback looks like?
If I have a question can I call you?
What other companies have you worked with?
What resources do you offer after the course?

About Us and Next Steps

We have been delivering online business writing courses since 1998, following optimal online and adult learning principles. We develop all content ourselves, based on our expert credentials and ongoing research. 

Key Outcomes

  • Proven results from thousands of participants
  • Specific instructor feedback linked to course goals ensures skill gains
  • Interactive, tracked training delivered to a global audience
  • Train anytime, pace, or place

Create a Custom Employee Program

Want to beacome a professional in Business Writing?

Whatever you write, Instructional Solutions teaches a proven process to synthesize and
communicate complex information. For teams and individuals.