Re: Stupendously learned user

Subject: Re: Stupendously learned user
From: Yves JEAUROND <jingting -at- rogers -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Wed, 6 Jun 2007 09:24:24 -0400 (EDT)

Stuart Burnfield wrote
"they can't picture what it would be like not to have it."

Excellent. There's a fancy word for that: an epistemological obstacle*,
invented by Gaston Bachelard, a French philosopher. :-)
Consider when Newbies and some not-so-newbies come to a manual
with opinions already set about a product, say based on their experience
with different products (an indoctrination? :-), switching from their opinions
to correct ideas about the product can be an obstacle.
A contextual intro can help destroy or redress incorrect knowledge
about what you are about to explain and knock out an epistemological obstacle.

Stuart Burnfield adds
"The contextual intro helps not just the person who needs to read the
following material, but also people who *don't* need to read it."

How true. A busy reader can see from a good intro whether he
needs the info that is coming or not.


* "J'ai souvent été frappé du fait que les professeurs de sciences, plus encore que les autres si c'est possible, ne comprennent pas qu'on ne comprenne pas. [...] Ils n'ont pas réfléchi au fait que l'adolescent arrive dans la classe de physique avec des connaissances empiriques déjà constituées : il s'agit alors, non pas d'acquérir une culture expérimentale, mais bien de changer de culture expérimentale, de renverser les obstacles déjà amoncelés par la vie quotidienne."
[book cover]
[online source]

Stuart Burnfield <slb -at- westnet -dot- com -dot- au> a écrit :
This sort of context is so important. It's often overlooked because the
person providing the information is so immersed in the context that they
can't picture what it would be like not to have it.

The contextual intro helps not just the person who needs to read the
following material, but also people who *don't* need to read it.

"This chapter contains worked examples of programming XML applications
in a Linux environment. It is suitable for Java programmers with some
knowledge of XYZ who need to learn how to program XML applications in
the following scenarios..."

This sort of intro would help readers not to waste time--for example:
- tech writers who want to know if they could use XML in their
publishing environment
- an XML application programmer who's looking for a programming
reference, but not a tutorial)


Nancy Allison said:
> I had asked the engineer for simple introductory statements to
> provide the missing context for the dense segments of programming
> that followed. In the effort to convey what such a statement
> might be like, I used those comparisons.

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Re: Stupendously learned user: From: Stuart Burnfield

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