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A Perfect Model for Online Tutorials -- MS Visio Shapes Course

Aug 4, 2007 • general

This tutorial on Visio's shapes from Microsoft is the best online tutorial I think I've ever seen. If I were modeling my help after a perfect example, it would be this tutorial.

A Perfect Tutorial

Here's why:

  • It contains both audio and text. You can control the audio easily, or just read the text.
  • Each page is short (2 minutes) so your attention span doesn't time out.
  • While you listen to the audio, you look at a graphic that demonstrates the concept explained.
  • You can see your progress through the course so you can see how many more screens are left.
  • After 10 screens or so, you're given a quiz. Responses appear after each answer.
  • After the quizzes, you have files to download and steps to walk through yourself. This helps you not just follow steps, but actually learn and grasp the material.
  • Some graphics are mini-demos you can watch.
  • The information is chunked and kept somewhat simple so it's not overwhelming.
  • At the end of the course, you receive a quick reference card to help you remember what you learned.
  • You also have the opportunity to rate the course and give feedback.

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About Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

I'm a technical writer based in the California San Francisco Bay area. Topics I write about on this blog include the following technical communication topics: Swagger, agile, trends, learning, plain language, quick reference guides, tech comm careers, and certificate programs. I'm interested in information design, API documentation, visual communication, information architecture and findability, and more. If you're a professional or aspiring technical writer, be sure to subscribe to email updates using the form above. You can learn more about me here. You can also contact me with questions.