Saturday, April 2, 2011

Getting it Wrong, Or Even Jove nods

I'm in the process of revising the technical writing course that I created for Learning Tree International. A couple of revisions back, I introduced using the OODA loop as a tool for analyzing the reader's needs in a particular scenario. Reviewing that material, I've come to realize that I did just an awful job.

For someone who thinks its very important to tie information to what matters to the reader, I seemed to have deliberately gone out of my way to present the topic in as abstract a manner as possible: lots of graphics with floating circles and pastel colours. When I think of the instructors that had to put those slides up and then try to connect the material to the course participants' lives... Well, I feel badly.

Anyway, I've done a significant rewrite and am feeling much better about the material. I've revised the graphics and the text to tie into a typical task and then to follow up by tying into a previous example in the course. Hopefully, I won't come back in six months and realize that I've just botched the explanation in a new and more exciting way.

By the way: Does everyone else but me know that, on your car's gas guage, there's a little gas pump icon that indicates which side of the car the gas tank fills from? My wife and I discovered this yesterday: on her car this is a little arrow pointing to the left and, on my car, a little arrow pointing to the right.

The sad thing is that we've been driving our cars for six or seven years. And I won't talk about the number of rental cars where we've pulled up at the pump and realized that we didn't know where the gas cap was--and the necessary information was right in front of it.

A failure in the first O of the OODA loop.

Reading or read

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