The Best Training Formats to Develop Effective Writing Skills


Posted August 6, 2019

We’ve written about practical ways for businesses to improve their teams’ writing abilities. We’ve discussed the characteristics that the ideal training will offer, like customization, interactivity, and the incorporation of real-world examples specific to that organization. But aside from the qualities of good training programs, what are the best formats for skill development? Here’s a look at the six most common ways businesses can improve their workforce’s business writing skills.

Online Courses

Web-enabled writing courses, typically available in self-contained and self-scheduled learning modules, offer unparalleled convenience. This format allows participants to consume lessons at their own pace in their own time. As a result, online courses are both user-friendly and cost-effective. Just ensure students still have access to a professional who can provide knowledge checks and written feedback.


For businesses that want instruction to be more hands-on, with an extra degree of personalization, but still want the convenience of online service, a customized webinar offers a good balance. Webinars give participants live and real-time access to business writing instructors, while retaining much of the convenience of online coursework, including avoiding the expense of travel for either the students or the instructors.


Workshops offer the most personalized experience, with hands-on practice, exercises , face-to-face time with instructors, and real-time feedback using participants’ writing samples. Workshops are lively, highly interactive, and engaging experiences where students become genuine, active participants in their own learning process.

Boot camps

Bootcamps are similar to workshops in design, but offer a more intensive and accelerated learning experience. They’re typically highly focused on specific writing skills and offer ample opportunities to practice those skills with assistance from the trainers. They enable students to learn and master new abilities faster than other formats.


Seminars can potentially offer good value for the dollar: a single or small number of presenters can walk large audiences through learning material quickly and efficiently. In general, however, seminars are more effective at concept mastery than at skills development. Not only are seminars rarely customized for the audience, they don’t usually offer opportunities for hands-on practice or even for questions until after the seminar is done.

Academic Instruction

Like seminars, academic instruction can be helpful when studying concepts or theories, but it’s not optimized for skills’ development. Academic approaches tend to be theoretical rather than practical, generic (“good writing”) versus specific (“good business writing”), with a focus on process rather than results. For organizations that need training efforts to produce a return on investment, academic trainers may not meet their needs.
Ultimately, there’s no such thing as “one size fits all” for developing effective writing skills. The format doesn’t have to be entirely one way or the other; the key is to fit the right approach to the audience’s specific needs
About Hurley Write, Inc.
Hurley Write, Inc., a certified women-owned small business (WBENC and WOSB), Historically Underutilized (HUB), and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE), has been designing and teaching customized onsite and online technical, business, and scientific writing courses for over 30 years. We also develop and teach specialty courses, such as how to write proposals and standard operating procedures (SOPs) and deviation and investigation reports, and how to prepare and give great presentations.  
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