• Government Campus UK

Foundations of Writing

Develop your written communication skills at work as you learn how to write plain, effective English using the ‘JASPER’ technique.

2,674 enrolled on this course

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Foundations of Writing

2,674 enrolled on this course

  • 2 weeks

  • 2 hours per week

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Introductory level

Find out more about how to join this course

  • Duration

    2 weeks
  • Weekly study

    2 hours
  • 100% online

    How it works
  • Unlimited subscription

    $244.99 for one whole yearLearn more

Improve your writing skills with ‘JASPER’

From writing emails to meeting notes and reports, there are many work contexts that require basic written communication skills.

On this two-week course, you’ll improve your writing skills using the mnemonic ‘JASPER’ – the six fundamental aspects of clear writing:

  • Jargon: how to recognise it in your own writing, and the importance of removing it for effective communication
  • Acronyms: the importance of spelling them out
  • Short sentences and short paragraphs: conveying meaning in chunks for maximum understanding
  • Plain English: avoiding ‘flowery’ and unclear language
  • Editors: how to use other people and software tools to review your work
  • Readers: the need to keep the reader in mind at all times.

Through practical exercises, you’ll finish the course with a checklist and toolkit to ensure your written communication is clear, concise and effective.

Learn crucial tips to develop your writing skills

You’ll be guided through the writing techniques of ‘JASPER’ to help you improve any written work you produce.

From removing corporate jargon for clarity to breaking down long sentences for readability, you’ll gain a solid understanding of the benefits of clear writing.

Explore editing tools to help you write in plain English

With an understanding of writing techniques, you’ll explore editing tools to help hone your writing skills further.

You’ll discover editing software and web-based apps that will become a crucial part of your writing toolkit.


  • Week 1

    Introducing JASPER

    • Introductions

      An introduction to the JASPER checklist as a helpful way of improving your written English.

    • Jargon: "Six Hydrocoptic Marzlevanes"

      Getting rid of the jargon is easier said than done.

    • Acronyms: TLAs are NSFW

      Make sure you explain acronyms.

    • Short: Sentences and Paragraphs

      Keep the sentences and paragraphs short.

    • Reflections on Week 1

      Your reflections and feedback, and a chance to check your understanding.

  • Week 2

    Moving ahead with JASPER

    • Welcome to Week 2

      A quick recap on Jargon, Acronyms and Short sentences and paragraphs - and looking ahead to Week 2.

    • Plain English: not grandiloquent phraseology

      How to keep it plain and understandable.

    • Editors: a helping hand

      Exploring the need for fresh eyes to help you edit a text.

    • Readers: step into their shoes

      Why readers are the ultimate customers.

    • Reflections and Further Resources

      final activity

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Identify common barriers to communication in written texts
  • Practise improving short texts
  • Discuss the best ways of improving the texts you produce
  • Develop your ability to write plain, effective English in a work context

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone with a professional need to use written English.

It is suitable for both native and non-native English speakers.

Who will you learn with?

Hi, I'm Jonathan, I'm Head of Skills Strategy (Government Skills) in Government People Group. I've been an L&D professional for 18 years. I was Head of Learning for the FCO Diplomatic Academy 2014-19.

Hi there, I am excited to be an educator on this programme. I am Head of Capability and Learning at Greater London Authority currently on secondment from CS as part of my own development.

I work in the Government Skills and Curriculum Unit (GSCU). I'm a Learning and Development Professional. I've worked in the Civil Service for 14 years working in a number of different departments.

I work in the Government Skills and Curriculum Unit (GSCU). I come from a Communications and Design background with experience in communications, media, film making and exhibition design.

Who developed the course?

Government Campus UK

Government Campus UK has been established to share selected courses from across the UK Civil Service.

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Ways to learn

Choose the best way to learn for you!

Subscribe & save

$244.99 for one whole year

Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Tests to boost your learning
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Buy this course

$109/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Tests to boost your learning
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 12 Mar 2024

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Sale price available until 4 March 2024 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply.

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Sale price available until 4 March 2024 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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