Teaching “Why” not “How”for seniors who want to learn tech

I have been teaching Seniors how to use computers in one way or another of over 20 years. I am always trying to find new ways to get the most difficult concepts across. I also spend a lot of time listening to them about why they hate computers and why they think that computers are so difficult for them to learn.

One of the key mistakes that. have noted is that most instructors only teach the “How” to do something. This means there will be an exact process where someone will click a very.specific series of buttons to achieve a goal… There is a few problems with this.

  • The student is not told WHY they are clicking on things
  • They are not told how to look at the menu to find answers
  • The process will me changed in a future update (Often making this process easier) making the senior panic
  • They are often shown features and benefits of software … not why they should use it.
  • Memorisation for seniors is difficult and daunting causing undo stress.

Why is more adaptable than How

When you focus on why you are clicking on a button in computer software classes you change how the student is thinking. The words on the screen start to have meaning and not just a series of clicks used to get somewhere in the software.

By teaching “Comprehension” of each of the steps, if the name of the icon or button ever changes because the software designer wants it easier to understand this does not put the student back to step one.

Example ” Instant alpha”

Instant Alpha is a tool that have been using for years on a Mac. this is the feature that allows you to remove the background from an image making it transparent. It has been this way for a decade. But they changed it.

I have never been able to find where Instant Alpha is on a Pages because it gets moved around every time there is a new version. But the last version I could not find it at all … because they renamed it to “Remove background from Image”.

While I am still stuck in a habit of searching for “Instant Alpha” “Remove Background image is easier to understand. This is where “Why” is more important to “how”

By teaching comprehension removes fear

teaching seniors why you are doing something allows them to adapt to new situations and become comfortable with the idea of using a computer as a whole. Blindly following instructions makes the senior fear of “Doing it wrong” and not “Where is that button I need to achieve this” . One places blame on the user the other blames the software.

Our Training classes is about understanding.

This is why our classes are designed to force seniors how to understand the software they are using. We teach the “Why” not the “How”. if you understand the why the how because easier to find.

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