Online course: Health Literacy and Plain Language

In this course, Romina Marazzato Sparano will explore with you the intersection between health literacy and plain language.

Health literacy is defined as the ability to find, understand, and process information to make healthcare decisions. Plain language has a vital role to play in fostering access, understanding, and usability of health information.

The course will explore writing strategies to help medical professionals communicate clearly with peers, the general public, patients, clients, and caregivers.

On completion of the course, you will be able to:

  • Define health literacy, describe the factors that impact it, and possible interventions to improve it
  • Define plain language, describe its importance in technical communication and health literacy, and assess written materials for clarity
  • Recognize and apply grammatical, textual, and design strategies that will help you to disambiguate and recast sentences, visualize data and restructure messages, all of which will contribute to clear communication
  • Recognize and apply strategies to redraft an obscure technical text into a clear technical version and a clear lay version.

A combination of reading, multimedia, discussions, and a live online session (which will be recorded for later access) will give you a range of learning experiences. The course is planned to be completed in 4-6 weeks (but life happens, so be sure to talk to Romina if you need more time.).

Once you complete the course, you will receive a Certificate of Completion.

Registration is open.

For South African students, the course costs R3500 (including VAT). The Plain Language Institute handles the administration and payment on behalf of the Plain Language Academy.

Please contact Nadja at to register.

Romina Marazzato Sparano

Romina Marazzato Sparano

Course instructor

Romina is a plain language writer and editor with over 20 years of experience in health communication. She is president of the Language Compass.

Romina lives in California in the United States.


“I believe that clear, factual, and compassionate health communication can serve as a scaffold for clear, factual, and compassionate communication in all aspects of life. As such, it is a gateway to a healthier society not only physically, but mentally, spiritually, and ethically.”


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