A Perfect Model for Online Tutorials -- MS Visio Shapes Course
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.
- 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
I'm a technical writer based in the California San Francisco Bay area. In this blog, I write about topics related to technical communication — Swagger, agile, trends, learning, plain language, quick reference guides, tech comm careers, academics, and more. I'm interested in simplifying complexity, API documentation, visual communication, information architecture and findability, and more. If you're a technical writer of any kind (progressional, transitioning, student), 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.