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    Helping academics write for a general audience
    About the course

    Repurpose your academic writing – learn how to write clearly for a digital audience.

    If you’re a professor or researcher that wants to learn how to write for a general audience online, this course is for you.

    As an academic, you’ve probably put a great deal of time and effort into learning the academic style of writing. But that’s no longer enough. Now it’s more important than ever that professors and researchers also have skills in plain language.

    This course will teach you how to write articles for a digital lay reader, how to write clearly when teaching remotely and how to repurpose your academic work for a digital audience. It’ll also give you the basics on how to build your personal brand online.

    What you’ll learn

    In this course, you’ll learn how to be clear with confidence. By the end of the training, you’ll be able to write in a way that answers readers’ questions in a concise and compelling way. You’ll emerge from the course having left behind the self-consciousness that academic writers often feel when they try to write in a more accessible style.

    Course outline

    In this course on clear online writing, you’ll learn how to:

    • focus on your readers, paying attention to their levels of literacy, expertise and motivation
    • organise your content in a journalistic style with the important information at the top
    • get rid of overviews and hedges (like ‘to a certain degree’, or ‘so to speak’)
    • get rid of academic jargon that stops your readers from reading
    • write informative headings – not clickbait
    • use the active voice and a variety of sentence lengths
    • decide whether to explain, replace or define technical terms or jargon.

    We’ll then focus on how to present yourself and your content online to a general audience, including how to:

    • write profiles for social media
    • share your repurposed academic writing
    • pay attention to search terms
    • use links to academic papers
    • decide how long an article or social media post should be.

    For full course details, please contact us via the Enquire button, and we’d be happy to provide you with a full breakdown of modules and outcomes.

    How you learn

    The training is carried out by experienced tutors via live online classroom sessions for a maximum of five attendees. We run the training through video conferencing software (usually Zoom or Microsoft Teams) with WhatsApp as a back-up technology.

    There are 12 hours of intensive training overall, delivered across two full-days or four half-days. We set practical exercises and assignments throughout the course, with a customised assignment at the end.

    Our courses are interactive. We rely on your examples, input and discussion. This is adult-to-adult learning where:

    • we train a principle or technique
    • we show you an example of how it’s put into practice (preferably in a real example from your work or organisation)
    • you apply the principle or technique in a short exercise, which we discuss as a group
    • you do an assignment at home to reinforce the learning right away.

    Who is this course for?

    Our course is right for you if you’re an academic who wants to extend their writing skills and reach wider audiences. You’ll need an open mind and a willingness to realise that while the academic writing style is well suited for academic purposes, a different set of writing skills is more effective for communicating with general readers or in a digital context.

    Please get in touch for further information on optional advanced modules in plain language via the Enquire button below.

    What does it cost?

    The price is €2,000 (excluding VAT). The course is for up to five delegates so it’s ideal for small businesses or for teams within large organisations. You’re also welcome to book as a group of individuals from different organisations. You pay for the course, and not for each person, so it’s better to take up all five places.

    Further plain language training options

    We also offer a number of other plain language courses, including:

    If you are interested in any of these alternative courses, please email recruit@firehead.net and we’d be happy to provide you with further information.


    More than 9,000 delegates from seven countries have already benefited from this plain language training. Here is some of their feedback:

    “The course really improved my skills in teaching remotely as I have learnt useful tips and tools to write more clearly.”

    “I feel far more confident of my ability to write for people who are reading for interest – and not as academics. I’m not as self-conscious in my writing as I was before the course.”

    “The training was fresh and fun – I enjoyed the experience and can now recognise my mistakes – I’ll be using the active voice and strong verbs from now on!”

    “I found the part on social media useful. I’d been meaning to write a LinkedIn profile for quite some time without really knowing how to go about it.’’

    Course type
    Live online
    Course duration
    12 hours
    Course date
    €2,000 for 5 people
    Course tutor
    Frances Gordon, Candice Burt

    Frances has devoted her 20-year career to enabling people and organisations to communicate clearly. Frances is well-known as an advocate for plain language in the legal, financial and technology industries. With her help, many organisations have been able to transform ‘small print’ into useful, usable communication. Besides being founder of Simplified, she has held tenures at large banks, technology companies and fintechs.

    Candice is a plain-language lawyer, who combines the rigour of legal writing with best practices in communication. Her focus area is legal and financial documents. She believes that even the most complex legal contract can and must be made accessible to its readers. Over the past 20 years, she has become known as an inspiring trainer and impressive conference speaker.

    Contact us today to arrange your plain language course or for further information.