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Amicuk Programming Answers

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2015-10-11   Views:0

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Hi, I have a minor dilemma on my hands. Working as a professional in the photographic and post-production fields, and I've been tasked with providing some instruction (across 2 or 3 apps) for a small group of clients (or clients of a friend I should

Hi,
I have a minor dilemma on my hands. Working as a professional in the photographic and post-production fields, and I've been tasked with providing some instruction (across 2 or 3 apps) for a small group of clients (or clients of a friend I should say). These folks are definitely not computer illiterate, but they're also not well-versed with more complex programs like Photoshop, Motion, etc.
Sadly I don't have an opportunity to sit down with some or all of them ahead of time and find out what they want.
Their goal is to get to a basic functional level, without paying $$$$ each for multiple learning center type classes. My goal is to find out the methods you guys feel work the best when bringing someone else up to speed on a complex piece of software.
Do people like the core of their learning to be with books, video, instruction, or a combination? And what type of books or video work best for that matter?
Any opinions on: a)single task lessons with sample files (where the learner duplicates everything being done after they've seen it); b) multiple example lessons (where they follow along, but don't duplicate - they learn by seeing the same tools used for multiple tasks); or c) reference-based learning, where you basically act as a human encyclopedia (whether you write it, record the screen with narration or do it on stage).
My research thus far indicates most people who are comfortable with operating systems and things like MS Office, are likely to try and learn with books. Basically they buy the most comprehensive or well-reviewed book they can find and keep it at their side as they try to work through the software. However this can't substitute for the task I've been given, only supplement it. Either way I need to recommend the best type of book for their purposes, after I'm gone.
Some possible approaches for me: Keynote presentations where functions are outlined and explained, and screenshots used; Live demonstrations for each task; Basic introduction to as many important functions as I can cram in there, how they're accessed, and then send them off with a book or video recommendation to continue learning; Straight Q&A (IOW, let them decide what they need to learn quickest and ask about it, then I try to demo something).
I'm a little afraid of that last task because there won't be time to prepare a demo for every possible function they might throw at me. At the same time it would be the most direct way to find out where they're stuck, skipping the other items I might assume are important but which they don't need or don't care about.
I've only got 1 day with them, maybe a day and a half if I can swing it / they can schedule it. What are your recommendations for teaching people at this level? Which types of materials or progression helps people retain stuff the best? Thank you for any insights or suggestions you might have....

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Heya,
I think DiffKid is referring to a combination of active and passive methods. Books and videos are both passive, so by themselves they may not hold a person's attention. Demoing/lecturing will directly engage people, but they eventually tire of the direct contact and being forced to move at someone else's pace.
Start broadly and then get more granular. I would recommend a flashy, shiny-object demo of an app that piques their interest. "You, too, can make really cool stuff like you see on TV! Marvel at my casual display of power!" Don't spend time on details. Focus, instead, on an overall feeling for layout and workflow, i.e. drawing is done here, fine adjustments are done here, etc.
If you get them excited, they will be self-starting. At that point you have to tailor it to their personalities: some people will want a step-by-step tutorial (books, videos) to follow to a precise, finished result. Some will want to mess around and see what they come up with, and others will want more personal direction.
Just don't start with anything dry. If you throw them into the deep end with a bunch of technical details, they will get bored and stop learning. Entice them, make them feel empowered, then turn them loose.

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