Comprehensive technical author training for newcomers, and existing technical authors who want to improve their skill set.
For over two decades Armada has been a leading provider of technical authoring services. We have employed and worked with some of the most talented and knowledgeable technical authors in the UK. Our background in the industry makes us ideally suited to offering technical author training.
Our Technical authoring training programme comprises the following modules:
- Introduction to technical authoring (1 day)
- Intermediate technical authoring (2 days)
- Advanced technical authoring (2 days)
Our Technical author training programme has been revamped recently, with several new modules added to reflect the latest trends in technical documentation.
In-class or online
In-class courses are proceeding as normal at all centres during the lockdown that started on 5 November 2020. To read more, see Training during lockdown.
We’re taking comprehensive measures to ensure your health and well-being – fewer people in-class, you won’t sit next to another person, comprehensive cleaning. To read more, see Covid-19 measures.
You can participate in this course online, from your place of work or home, at a discounted price. To read about how this works, see Live online training.
Upcoming course dates
Accredited technical author training
Our Technical author training programme, is accredited by the ISTC, the UK-based society for professional communicators.
Background and trainers
For over two decades, Armada has been a leading provider of technical authoring services. We have employed and worked with some of the most talented and knowledgeable technical authors in the UK. Our background in the industry makes us ideally suited to offering technical author training.
Technical authoring courses are hosted by highly experienced instructors, all of whom have held senior technical authoring positions and have 30+ years’ experience in technical authoring and related roles. See Expert trainers.
How will I learn?
Technical author training combines lecture, demonstration and hands-on practice. You carry out plenty of practical exercises to learn the techniques taught.
You have ample opportunity to discuss your specific requirements with the trainer.
Technical author training materials and certificate
Course delegates receive:
- Comprehensive training material, to refer to throughout the course, and to use as a refresher afterwards.
- Checklists and job aids to focus each stage of the writing process.
- Report and user manual templates that incorporate best practice design and structure as taught in the courses.
- Resources to use back in the workplace.
- An e-certificate confirming successful course completion. Click here to see an example of the certificate you receive.
After course support
Following technical authoring training, delegates are entitled to 30 days’ email support from their trainer to help with any post-course issues. For further details, see Support.
No prior technical authoring knowledge is necessary.
Our guarantees to you
- A price guarantee that you’re getting the best value for money.
- A training guarantee that you’ll learn the concepts and skills you need.
On-request technical authoring training available
Our Technical authoring training programme is available on-request, i.e. one-to-one training or a ‘closed course’ for your group, hosted at one of our centres, your venue or online.
On-request technical authoring training can be tailored to take into account any existing knowledge you have, and the work you’re going to be doing. Please contact us for a quote.
Payment for technical writing training can be made bank transfer or card.
We accept purchase orders from UK-registered companies and public sector organisations.
If you’re self-funding your training, you can pay in staged payments, interest-free, over 12 months.
For further details, see training course payment options.
Cancellations and transfers
You can cancel a booking on a scheduled training course, or transfer to a later course, without penalty providing you give us 10 working days’ notice. Any fees already paid will be refunded.
If you cancel a booking on a scheduled Technical authoring programme training course giving less than 10 working days’ notice, or request a transfer to a later course, a cancellation/transfer fee is payable. The fee charged depends on the notice period given. For details, see cancellation terms.
Different terms apply for the cancellation or postponement of an on-request course (one-to-one training or a ‘closed course’ for your group). For details, see course cancellations.
Terms and conditions
Training course bookings are subject to our terms and conditions.
Technical authoring programme training courses are hosted by:
Crow has over thirty years’ experience in technical authoring, business writing, and training. Her love of language, combined with a natural pickiness and attention to detail, has been put to good use in a variety of editing, writing, management and training roles.
Crow is a highly experienced learning specialist who believes strongly in empowering authors through training. She has developed and delivered technical and business communication skills training for a range of clients including DEFRA, the Marine Stewardship Council, Bio Products Laboratory Limited and NHS Digital.
Crow has three degrees and a Certificate in Education. She is currently working on a range of books based on the writing courses she has developed.
Nigel is a Co-Founder of Armada Technical Authors with over thirty five years’ experience in user-assistance in a wide range of roles including Technical Writer, Manager, Consultant and Trainer.
Nigel continues to undertake projects from time to time to keep up-to-date with the latest technologies and practices. His areas of expertise include software for local government, accountancy and finance.
Peter has over thirty years’ experience in the IT industry in roles including programmer, technical author, trainer, business analyst, senior manager and education management consultant.
Peter has written, designed and project-managed everything from printed manuals and technical specifications to online help and computer-based training materials, specialising in writing for an international audience. An expert in document automation and information re-purposing, he uses templates to avoid endlessly reinventing the wheel when producing documents.
Peter develops and teaches a wide range of technical and business writing training courses. Recent consultancy and training clients include Learning Tree International, Airbus, the IAEA and the UN.
Introductory module (day 1)
Introduction and objectives
Recommended reading list
Why good writing is important and the costs of documentation
Know your audience
Understand and prioritise the different categories of your audience and handle different levels of reader
Research the basic tasks of your audience
How to structure your documents
Understand which sections to include in your manuals and the order in which they should be placed
Write from a design
Use mind mapping techniques for designing a document
Learn how to plan the content of your document before you start writing
Skills of writing – 12 golden rules
Learn the 12 golden rules of writing to help you develop a clear and concise style
Use readability checking and testing techniques
Punctuation and grammar
Understand the basics of punctuation and grammar
Avoid the six most frequently made errors that occur in writing
Understand the basics of layout and typesetting
Learn how to format your document for maximum impact
Reviewing and proof reading
How to check your documentation to ensure it is error free
Use industry standard techniques for reviewing, rewriting and proof reading
Intermediate module (days 2 and 3)
Introduction and overview
Basics of technical writing
Why don’t readers use technical writing?
- Five key reader problems
- What readers want
- Why consistency is so important
Writers’ problems with technical writing
- The main cause of ineffective writing
- Types of writing
- Standards for technical writing
The technical writing process
Project managing your writing
- A process to achieve consistency
- The technical writing process
- Timings for a writing project
Planning your writing
- Setting document objectives
- Plan – draft – rewrite!
Analysing your audience
- Understanding your readers
- Audience analysis
- Four key audiences
- The global audience
- The audience you don’t support
Adding detail to your audience analysis
- Using personas
- Communication styles
- Other communication style issues
Creating effective content and structure
Creating a body of knowledge
- Defining structure and content
- Structuring with sections
- Topic-based authoring & DITA
Topic generation techniques
- Introductions and conclusions
- Generating topics for a structure
- Structuring with the LATCH principle
- Outlining tools
Creating an outline prototype
- Creating headings that work
- Writing better headings
- Testing the prototype
- Handling repetition and redundancy
- Transitions that work
- Sentence structure
- Sections that work
The Building Blocks of Content
- Basic sentence structures
- Topic sentences and controlling ideas
- Writing a clear topic sentence
- Establishing the topic and controlling idea
- Paragraph structure
- Linked paragraphs help readers
- Creating effective paragraphs
Clarity in technical writing
Clarity issues with English
- Language customs
- Common writing styles
- Simplified Technical English
- STE controlled dictionary*
Grammar issues affecting technical writers
Consistency and correctness
The Importance of consistency
- Achieving consistency
- Typographical errors
- Spelling forms
- Colons, semi-colons, ellipses
- Apostrophes in action
Copy editing and proofreading
Putting it all together
Building readability into your documents from the start
- Enough or too much?
- Capstone exercise
Technical writing tools
- Writing tools for technical writers
- Image creation tools for technical writers
Advanced module (days 4 and 5)
Introduction and overview
The technical writing process
- Building readability
- How people take on information
- Working with how the brain works
Given/new and readability
- Given/new – using a universal glossary
- Structuring for readability
- Reducing inferential load
Signalling in your document
- Signalling with headings
- 3-step process for effective headings
- Signalling with sentences
- Customer-focused persuasion
Business and design standards for technical documentation
Standards for technical writing
- Darwin Information Typing Architecture
- DITA and XML
- Company style guides and standards
- External standards
Types of style guides
- Example style guide content
- Creating a style guide
- Using editorial reference guides
Creating better graphics
Designing the page
- How readers process technical documents
- Improving your document’s functionality
Basic rules of graphics
- Controlling layout with tables and grids
- Microsoft Word vs DTP software
- Typefaces, fonts, and white space
- Layout and alignment
Expressing information with graphics
- Identifying what works as a graphic
- Getting the right level of detail using, photos, drawings and charts and graphs
Checking document integrity
Formal document structure and templates
- Headings and the ToC
- Other tables and lists
- Captions and graphics
- References and notes
Online vs print
- Checklists for print and online
- Checklist for online
Copy editing and proofreading
- Marking up proofs
- Using formal proof correction symbols
- Checking your text
- Checklist: proofreading and copy editing
Writing for multiple platforms
Targeting your platforms
- Size and shape of the screen
- Using responsive design
How readers scan pages online
- Identifying what must be written
- Building the inverted pyramid
Headings, menus, and links
- 3-step process for effective menus:
- Menus vs. links
- Writing links that work
The online hierarchy
- 4 key criteria for an effective home page
- Creating transitional and content pages
- Basic accessibility guidelines
- BBC online rules
Focusing sentences to communicate to the reader:
- Putting the reader first
- Different types of sentence
- Making your writing more concrete
Key grammar problems in technical authoring
- Subject-verb agreement
- Complete sentences
- Missing information
- Unreadable text and how to fix it
Grammar and syntax
- Usage issues
- Creating cohesion terms: redundancy and transitions
- Using parallel construction: sentences, tables and lists, headings
Editing and writing with others
Planning to meet your deadlines
- Planning and estimating
- Planning metrics
- Meetings: objectives, rules, top ten issues, checklists
Feeding back to team members
- The SBI model: delivering effective feedback
- Questions to ask in difficult situations
- People problems: communication styles*
Creating communication in the work environment
- VAK: seeing, hearing, feeling
- Filtering information with VAK preferences
- Benefits of VAK preferences
- Keeping the team Informed
- increasing team involvement
- Putting it all together
Live online training
Live online training lets you participate in a technical writing course from your place of work or home.
We do everything possible to make your online training experience as close as possible to actually being in the classroom. You can:
- See and hear our trainer, and see the other delegates participating in the technical writing training…
- Interact by speaking, using chat, or raising your ‘virtual hand’ if you need assistance.
- Share your screen with our trainer, and allow them to control it to demonstrate something.
We endeavour to provide you with the best online training experience…
- Online Technical authoring programme courses are presented by expert instructors, following the same syllabus as our classroom-based courses.
- You receive comprehensive training materials.
- Your training is hands-on, and you carry out assisted exercises.
- You’re entitled to 30 days’ email support from your trainer.
When you attend live online training, you’re participating in a real course, hosted by a real trainer, in real time.
All you need is an internet-connected computer and a webcam – see Hardware recommendations for live online training. The setup is simple, but if there’s anything you’re not sure about we’re here to help.
For a limited time, we’re offering discounts for bookings on live online courses.
To make your technical writing training as affordable as possible, we offer:
- A range of training discounts on our scheduled technical writing training courses.
- A price guarantee that you won’t get technical writing training for less.
If you book multiple places on any courses, we can offer you:
- 10% discount if you book two places.
- 15% discount if you book three or four places.
- 20% discount if you book five or more places.
This can be for several people attending one course, one person attending several courses, or a combination.
These discounts are available for both classroom-based courses and live online training.
We offer a 10% discount on scheduled technical writing course places to:
- Students, teachers and lecturers.
- People who work for a registered charity.
- ISTC members.
These discounts are available for both classroom-based courses and remote training.
Please call us if you qualify for a discount. Evidence of your status that entitles you to a discount may be requested.
Terms and exclusions
Only one of the above discounts can be applied to any booking.
The above discounts are not available for on-request course bookings (one-to-one training or a ‘closed course’ for your group).
When you book training with Armada, we want you to be certain that you’re not paying over-the-odds. So, if you book a place on any scheduled (public) course and then find the same course at a lower price elsewhere, we will match that price.
To qualify for the price match:
- The course you find must be comparable. By this we mean it must:
- Cover the same subject.
- Be the same duration or longer.
- For classroom-based courses, be in the same region, i.e. within 50 miles of our centre.
- For online training, be a live course, i.e. not pre-prepared e-learning content.
- The lower price must be advertised on the other company’s website.
To claim a price match, just call any time before attending your course and tell us where you saw the price.
advice of where to find the best source and reference material. This has been a week well spent.”