RE: encouraging learning by experimentation?

Subject: RE: encouraging learning by experimentation?
From: Jim Shaeffer <jims -at- spsi -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 6 Dec 2002 10:16:18 -0500


Has Mike Bradley (quoted below) described something of historic import
for technical writers?
Have we gone through a transition from "documentation that trains" to
"documentation that describes"? Is this an on-going evolution? If we
use "Instruction Manual" as a synonym for "User Manual" are we saying
that the manual contains lists of instructions or that the manual
instructs the user?
Willow Foster (see below), in responding to a different section in
Mike's post, also demonstrates an attitude emphasizing complete and
accurate description over user training.
In my personal experience, our classroom trainer reports that users
have learned to use our software just from the Help files I've
produced. I'm pleased, but I did not create the Help files with that
in mind.

Jim Shaeffer (jims -at- spsi -dot- com)
(These questions have my mind in a TECHWR-L.)

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Mike Bradley [mailto:mbradley -at- techpubs -dot- com]
>
> Someone wrote about the experimental mindset of early microcomputer
> users.
> One result was that our manuals were really training manuals, not
> documentation. We often provided a set of sample output files, then,
> in the manual, used them to walk the user through a series of
> exercises. In the exercises you could include demonstrations of
> errors and their effects as well as good practices.
>
> Can't do that any more unless we sneak into the Training Dept.

And Willow Foster responded, in part:
> We are telling them how to get a job done. If they remember,
> if they learn from it, great. If not, well, that's ok too, the reader can
> look the same thing up over and over and over to their hearts content. I
> don't care.


^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Check out SnagIt - The Screen Capture Standard!
Download a free 30-day trial from http://www.techsmith.com/rdr/txt/twr
Find out what all the other tech writers, including Dan, already know!

Order RoboHelp X3 in December and receive $100 mail in rebate, FREE WebHelp
Merge Module and the new RoboPDF - add powerful PDF output functionality
to RoboHelp X3. Order online today at http://www.ehelp.com/techwr-l

---
You are currently subscribed to techwr-l as:
archive -at- raycomm -dot- com
To unsubscribe send a blank email to leave-techwr-l-obscured -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Send administrative questions to ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com -dot- Visit
http://www.raycomm.com/techwhirl/ for more resources and info.



Follow-Ups:

Previous by Author: RE: encouraging learning by experimentation?
Next by Author: Re: Description of Tech Writers
Previous by Thread: RE: encouraging learning by experimentation?
Next by Thread: RE: encouraging learning by experimentation?


What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads


Sponsored Ads