Learning new software – fast

This week I'm learning to use Articulate Storyline. It is a fun software package for rapidly creating eLearning. When learning a new software package, I find scanning the documentation to be useful. I also find that video tutorials are particularly helpful. If the company doesn't provide video tutorials, then I can often find a bunch of useful tutorials on YouTube. On a side note, if I were challenged with creating software user document today, I would want to incorporate a lot of show-me type videos in the documention, as they are amazingly more effective than text only documentation and in many cases faster to produce.

One of the challenges with video tutorials is that they take too long to watch. Often they contain too much fluff or segments are too slow. In good tutorials, the speaker talks slowly and clearly. This is useful if you are not proficient at understanding English; however, as an English speaker, I find that the speaker talks too slowly. Also, if I want to  scan a series of videos, then I want to see them quickly.

I have found this great little tool, Enounce MySpeed, which works well with videos played through the Firefox browser (it doesn't work for me in Chrome). With the tool, I can adjust the speed of playback – making it faster to quickly gloss over content that I already know. I can also slow down the speed if I want to follow along with the speaker. On a side note, I've also found the tool useful for slowing down video for transcription.

In summary, to learn a new software package quickly, I seek out videos on how to use the various features, and then watch them on fast speed!

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