Practice what we Preach

Over the last few days I have received notifications of new blogs posted by various L&D professionals. As I opened one after the other I noticed a very alarming trend.

We are in L&D and we advocate short sharp bits of information for our learners.  We tell our designers that people should not be made to read longer than 10 mins during a learning session.  We advocate modularisation of learning. We speak about chunking information into small pieces.

So I open the first blog and what do I see over 3 pages of writing. I open up the next one, over 4 pages of writing. So I give up and guess what, unfortunately I don’t read any further.

Now I know I am new to blogging and that there are more qualified people out there to talk about blogging, but one thing I do know, if you are expecting me (and maybe others) to read 3, 4 or 5 pages of writing then I think you need to start practicing what you (and I) preach.

This is why Twitter is also so successful – because you only have 140 characters to say what you want to say.

If you want your blog to be read and be successful think about been brief and succinct – would you ask one of your learners to read what you just wrote and is this the right length/amount for the message you wish to convey. If not then do a part 1, part 2 or even a part 3 but don’t write reams and reams because not many will be reading it.




12 thoughts on “Practice what we Preach

  1. It’s an interesting point, Con. There’s an argument being made about blogging that we are losing the art of long-reading because of Twitter and short blog posts. Anything more than 750 words in social media is seen as too much for people to handle.


    • Yeah I understand where you coming from but blogging is about a short sharp piece on a message. Some of the recent ones I opened, but did not read fully, where a virtual chapter of a book. As L&D folk we need to be walking the walk and writing the write !


    • Maybe then we need a new identifier e.g WARNING : Long Blog Ahead. Or don’t call it a blog, call it a research paper or article or short piece – give me a warning so I can decided before I open it – this way I can make some soup and hot bread, curl up by the fire and have a long read.


  2. Thanks Con – it was a whimsical reply to something that I tend to agree with. I think a lot can be said about who you’re reading. Like you said on twitter you know what you’ll be getting when you set out to read Moby Dick. The same is true for many bloggers – I know what’s likely when I read Sukh, Gem, Rick, David etc.

    Is it just a case of them being new bloggers?


  3. Hi Con,

    Let’s not forget that many, many people blog as a reflective exercise as opposed to a ‘teaching’ exercise. (I know you never used that phrase, but I’m extrapolating it from the fact that you compare and contrast blog posts to the ‘nugget sized’ information that L&D are advocating)

    The fact that other people may read their public reflection is a bonus but not always a blogger’s primary concern.

    If some people can reflect in a few paragraphs – great!

    If others need 3, 4 or 5 pages to reflect – great!


    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your input Craig. I think you forgot one other reason why people blog – because they love to talk about themselves – me me me.

      That’s ok – it is their blog – they do what that want to do but I will not be reading it – I know that’s no loss to them.

      I blogged on this topic because I reflected and I did it in a succinct and brief manner. I could have gone on and on but I practised what I preach.

      My analogy to practising what we preach is more about challenging my PLN to convey their “reflections” more succinctly – some do this well and others well they are ‘not yet competent’


  4. pauldrasmussen says:

    For me it is about the content I want to talk about, sometimes my posts are quite short and other times they are quite long. It depends on what I want to talk about about how much I have to say. I am not really a fan of the part 1, part 2 idea, I have done it a couple of times and never really found it successful.

    I also tend to agree with Sukh’s suggestion more than 750 words is too much for people to handle. There needs to be a opportunity to engage in well thought out arguments and positions and you can’t really do that in very short pieces, you always I think end up compromising some of what you want to say for the sake of brevity.

    However this is the voice of an old school philosopher, a subject area renowned for rambling arguments.


  5. Thanks for your thought provoking post Con. I’m one of those people who have long posts but I agree with Craig’s comments.

    For me, blogging is a personal, reflective pursuit. I have been blogging since 2005 with personal and professional blogs. Writing down what I’ve learned or worked on is me trying to make sense of it all – seeing the connections and applications.

    In my previous years when I wrote for journals and newspapers, I tailored the articles to suit the readers. However, with my blog, you’re getting an outsider’s view seeing me work out loud.

    Personally, blogs are as individual as their writers. I don’t mind reading long posts that show the process of how someone has learned something or applied it in their job – the more deep thinking for me, the better. If they can challenge me on assumptions or influence me to consider alternatives, I respect them.

    When reading, in your mind’s eye you can capture the magic of what makes the author tick. That’s what I find fascinating. Let’s not create another blanket formula of how long or short blog posts should be – let them just be. Ultimately the reader can decide whether or not they want to read them.


  6. Thank you Helen for your input – it is always a pleasure to hear your thoughts.

    I assume most bloggers write so as others can read – you and others write because you want to share your work and ultimately your goal is for someone to read, comment or interact.

    If you did not write for others to read then you would keep a private reflective journal that only you access – but you want your reflection to be seen by the world – simply put you write for the world to read.

    All I have done is challenge those writers that write reams for others to read to see if they can think their blogs through before publishing and make them more succinct. It is their choice – mine was simply laying the challenge.

    Acceptance is an individual choice, but the challenge remains….


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