Learn Me Good

by Scott Smith

I was watching Coleman Jones (a/k/a Jones Soda) play his latest driving game on the Game Cube. He switched to a track that required drift — for the uninitiated game players, that’s driving into curves at high-speed without too much braking if any.

The track exaggerated  the drift, giving him a track that’s S-curves.

The game was training the young boy, teaching him. The key was teaching without the usual pedantic methods we use in schools, business, and home.

I want to apply the idea of learning by doing with PmWiki and WordPress. How do you teach and leave the pedantic, ineffective method of lectures and the like?

When I think of my learning style, I know something when I can teach someone. Before that, I rely a bit too much on instinct. You learn by teaching and doing.

I admire game makers for their ability to teach a whole system and leaving the docs behind. However, they build the learning into the system.

I remember an early version of my beloved Age of Empires basically forced you to use their tutorial before setting you lose on the various scenarios.

PmWiki and WordPress have no built-in learning system that allows you to create a document within a tutorial (going back to learning by building/doing).

Adobe and other makers have software that allow you to build tutorials based on a system. I find them too far removed from the program.

I’m not too sure how I can help others master PmWiki and WordPress more effectively. I mean, that’s the key, right? If I spend two hours on X, it will save me eight hours on Y. ROI – Return on Investment.

Well written documentation is good; screencasts (videos of software how-tos) is good; tutorials requiring user interaction is good. Still, not as effective or efficient as the drift tutorial Jones Soda experiences in his video game.