How to write best tutorials for beginners

Every day people search the Internet to learn how to do something and there are many tutorials to answer their questions. However, they may not always find the actual answer they are looking for due to certain issues they have with the tutorial itself. It may not be clear to them or too complicated.

I have personally read and written many beginner’s guides, articles, and tutorials over the years on a variety of topics, and have discovered ways to improve my own teachings, which I wish to share with you.

FOCUS ONLY ON WHAT YOU NEED TO SAY

Imagine that you are having a conversation with someone. Does it say over and over again about nothing or is it to the point? If they say a lot of unnecessary things and often repeat themselves, you may only half listen to yourself or even disconnect. When people read your tutorial they are looking for an answer to your question, they are not willing to read a load of what they consider to be nonsense nonsense.

So, when you edit your tutorial, just focus on what you need to say and delete everything that doesn’t really contribute anything to you.

AVOID OVERLOADING INFORMATION

Who really reads the fine print or the terms and conditions that seem to read like a large novel, written by someone who likes to brag because he knows a lot of long words? People automatically turn off when too much information is presented to them at once. I personally have a hard time remembering too many instructions at once. Give me instructions somewhere and my memory starts to get rejected after the first four.
It is better to present your information in smaller paragraphs and focus on one thing at a time. If you have a lot to say then you might consider breaking up your tutorial into IE sections: Part 1, Part 2 etc.

So put yourself in the beginner’s mind. If you wanted to learn something, how would you like the information to be presented to you? Use bold headings to explain what the next paragraph or section is about, and avoid using unfamiliar terms that the beginner might not understand at this time.

NEVER PATRONIZE YOUR READERS

This may seem obvious, but it is something you should always keep in mind. A few years ago I sent a programming question to someone in a magazine and the first part of the answer he printed was this: “Although the example in the manual is clear enough, I will give you another example.” I found it insulting. Maybe it was clear to him, but not to me, since I wouldn’t have written to him in the first place.

Some people argue that if someone does not understand them, that person is thick and deserves to be sponsored. Some people get angry if someone doesn’t understand what is being explained to them. It is important to remember that people have different speeds and learning abilities. If you discover that you are a person who has a bad attitude towards people, then it can be reflected in your writing.

Therefore, you should focus on helping that person understand rather than lashing out because you think they said something obvious or stupid. Some people seem silly, but they don’t necessarily do it on purpose. If they don’t understand something, assure them it is not a threat to them, you are trying to help them.

CONCLUSION

Understanding people’s needs and being patient with them can help you become a better tutor. Listen to their comments and learn from them to improve your writing.

Dean Sharples is a writer and programmer with many years of experience. He has written articles on topics such as home business, retro, religion and programming. He is a Muslim and comes from Manchester, UK. You can find more information about Dean at: http://www.deansharples.com

 

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