Wednesday, April 2, 2008

#11 Approach is everything!

This week I have focused on writing training material for the Managed Spaces of our wiki project. Though I was indifferent about what portion of the wiki I would be writing instructions, it seems to me that this particular area is by far the most complicated because it holds the heart of wiki management. The Space Contents, Settings, and Promotion include many brief subcategories that can have involved processes. Therefore, I constantly ask myself, “What is the most logical approach?”

I find the most intriguing aspect of technology is analyzing the user. I wonder how user personality and preference influence the depth and the breadth of technology training. For instance, I much prefer a global picture with instructions broken down into specific tasks. Others may be content with receiving a general overview of the area and locating more specifics when they need the material. Regardless of style, I believe everyone arranges, organizes, and prioritizes information in a manner that makes the most sense. The difficult area for me is figuring out where to begin and what kinds of directions will be the most beneficial.

It is comical to think that it was only a few months ago that I first viewed the class wiki. I remember feeling a sense of panic that I did not know where to go or what to do. The feeling of the novice is one of the things I must keep in mind when I write directions. There is a balance with providing too little or too much information during the initial experience. I find that there is a correlation in the simplicity to recipe instructions and those basic steps in training materials. Hopefully those who use the wiki will seek help and have a positive experience.


Helen Leinbach said...

I identify with your initial feelings about the class wiki and your attitude now. I felt the same about writing a website in html code two months ago and feel fairly comfortable with the idea now. Wouldn't it be nice to skip the in-between stage! I agree that the nature of the instructions is important. I am working through a 975 page manual for Dreamweaver now and find it really frustrating that the instructions for building a website begin on page 555. If instructions are not sequential, I find it very difficult to follow.

Kay said...

I agree. I think it takes a bit of "Acting" to pretend you are a user that knows nothing about the wiki. I try to put myself in the shoes of another person.

Mary Alice Ball said...

I feel helpless as an instructor when it comes to dealing with people's sense of panic over one technology or another. I go through the same emotion myself so ultimately I know that it is inevitable. My goal in having people partner up is that the panic can be brought out into the open and accepted as a natural response to something new. Not a bad way to become more compassionate when we deal with other new learners.