RE: encouraging learning by experimentation?

Subject: RE: encouraging learning by experimentation?
From: Richard Lippincott <richard -dot- lippincott -at- ae -dot- ge -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 11 Dec 2002 14:27:38 -0500

Gary S. Callison asked:

>So how do you write for an
>audience that includes both these guys AND the idiot with some wrenches,
>without insulting some and confusing others?

...and then provided a pretty good answer to his own question.

Here's another variation on solving that problem.

I worked on some manuals called "Job Guides," they were aimed at both the
experienced and the novice aircraft mechanic.

The format was a 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 pages size. Left hand pages were text, right
hand pages were illustrations keyed to the text on the facing page.
(Illustrations were repeated as needed so that every left-hand page had all
the appropriate figures on the facing page.

The steps were written with certain keywords in boldface. The novice user
would read all the words, but the experienced mechanic would be able to read
only the boldface. It would look something like this (substituting all caps
for the boldface):

in the steps that follow. Refer to Figure 1.
A. INSTALL the TWO 12-point BOLTS
THROUGH THE FLANGE on the accelerometer
and through the front frame aft/HPC forward flange.
(1) Attach one bolt to a nut plate on the front frame
aft flange. TORQUE TO 160-190 LB IN.
(2) Attach the other bolt with a self-locking nut. Torque to
160-190 lb in.
2. CONNECT THE vibration accelerometer HARNESS TO THE
vibration ACCELEROMETER in the steps that follow.
A. Remove the protective covers from the connectors/connections.
B. Apply side-to-side pressure and push the cable connector on the

It worked well, the tricky part was knowing how much (how little?) to
--Rick Lippincott
Lockheed Martin
Saugus, MA

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