RE: Web based tutorial

Subject: RE: Web based tutorial
From: "Anuradha Biswas" <anuradhab -at- sct -dot- co -dot- in>
To: "P M" <pm_0403 -at- yahoo -dot- com>, "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 21 Aug 2003 17:56:20 +0530


< Can anyone suggest me how can I make this tutorial look different than the existing Online Help?

WBTs and online help content are extremely different from each other for two basic reasons:

1. Tutorials that are part of online help are provided for immediate assistance. WBT content on the other hand, is actual learning material and meets a user objective to learn products or domains.
2. Users who refer to online help are rarely interested in 'learning' the application. They just want to get their work done.

With these basic differences in objective and audience needs, you should be able to create a WBT without being worried about duplicating help content. A few suggestions:

1. Provide additional reference material within the tutorial. Help tutorials typically are crisp and are restrained by word count for various reasons - time, user attention span, and bandwidth by and large.
2. You can do away with step-by-step instructions and instead capture screens with explanation for the interface elements or fields.
3. Provide exercises at the end of a set of tutorials. This gives you the opportunity to understand user concepts for a set of related functions or features. In addition, you give the user the advantage of actually understanding related processes achieved using several functions. For example, consider a complex process such as check clearing. The process involves several sub-processes. And several functions address these processes. By tying processes and functions, you provide users a deeper understanding of the application in relation to the domain.
4. Provide video captures as answers to the exercises. Users can refer to the answers either during the exercise or later as a reference. If you have built in actual scenarios into the exercises, you give your users extremely valuable information. All this is never part of online help.
5. Replace step-by-step instructions with chunks of reference material that explain the business objective the function meets.

These come to mind at the moment! Hope they help.

Anu Biswas

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