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Adobe FrameMaker

How Do You Teach New Users Programming?

Apr 19, 2013 • api-doc

I've recently fallen in love with a site called Code Academy, which juxtaposes a real-time programming console with instructions and activities. It's the most hands-on, interactive site I've come across, and I want to someday model my own help to be like it.

Here are a few key points:

  • Users learn by doing. Each concept has an associated activity with it that reinforces the concept through the activity.
  • The concepts have to be somewhat simple and concrete in order to demonstrate them through a hands-on activity.
  • Implementing a similar site would require help from a programming team.
  • Similar to the Let Me Try simulations, if you don't program the code exactly as it should be, the system sometimes thinks you did it wrong.
  • The instructional column is somewhat limited in the depth it can cover. Sometimes I'd like to just read a few paragraphs or pages on the topic.

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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.