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Thursday, August 30, 2007

8 Reasons Why It's Not Your Fault If You Feel Like A 
Computer Dummy, 6 Secrets That Skyrocket Your Skills

If you're like a lot of people, you feel confused by computers and wish you had more confidence and skill.

You know you're not as good as you want to be, and you end up frustrated by them a lot.

Maybe you feel like you're missing out on something that other people enjoy, and wish you could learn the basics of computers so you can join in but you aren't sure about what you're doing.

If any of this seems familiar to you, then it's important to realize that you're not alone -- a lot of people feel this way about computers.

You also need to understand it's not your fault.

I've been helping people with their computer challenges for a long time, and I've spent years researching exactly what causes people to get stuck, and what makes them feel frustrated and confused.

I've discovered there are 8 main reasons why most people fail when they try to learn computer basics and get better at computers -- and none of those reasons are your fault at all!

If you have always felt like a dummy, it's because the game has been rigged against you -- the traditional ways people try to learn computers are almost designed to make you fail!

Here are 4 of the common experiences people have when they try to
learn the basics of computers:

  1. You try to learn from someone you know like a neighbor, family member, or someone else who may seem like they understand computers, but who in reality doesn't really know that much and ends up passing on misinformation, misunderstanding, and bad habits.

    It's like a 16-year-old trying to get someone a few months older to teach them how to drive: not a good idea.

  2. You sign up for classes, but end up feeling frustrated and like you've wasted your hard-earned money because the teacher goes at the pace of the fastest student, and you end up like most of the other students: left out and left behind.

  3. You hire a computer consultant who probably knows what they're talking about, but while they understand computers, they don't understand the first thing about teaching.

    They talk in confusing technical terms that they can't or won't explain clearly, and often get impatient or annoyed with you when you don't get it.

  4. Because of the expense, you only hire a consultant once in a while, and when you do, you want to cover a bunch of stuff in one long lesson to save money on repeat trips.

    But you end up wasting your money because you tried cramming in too much at once, so most of it goes in one ear and out the other.

Here are a few important things to understand about how people's mind work and how we learn that is critical to remember when learning any skill, including computers:

  1. When we learn a skill -- reading, writing, using computer, or anything else -- we have to start off focusing on the little details, or little steps, and work up from there: letters before words, words before sentences, paragraphs before pages.

    Most professional computer trainers are way up at a level where they see the big picture and have trouble thinking back to when they focused on the little steps

    Because of this, they have trouble explaining to you and don't really understand why you don't get it.

  2. Scientific studies have shown people need to learn in short lessons of half an hour or less, with a break between lessons.

    When most classes or lessons from consultants run an hour or two long, is it any surprise you forget it all?

    Obviously, when you're working around somebody else's schedule, and you're paying by the minute (plus travel time in a lot of cases) it seems to make more economic sense to have a single long lesson that lasts an hour or two, instead of several short lessons.

    But in reality, you end up wasting money on those lessons that go on for more than half an hour, since you end up forgetting a lot of what you're taught!

    An unfortunate catch 22.

  3. Repetition builds skill: nobody learns a skill in just one lesson. But because of the cost and today's busy schedule, almost nobody ever gets computer lessons more than once in a blue moon, so they end up stuck in a frustrated rut.

    Know how to ride a bike?

    I bet if you do, then you had to practice a while before you got good at it.

    At first it was a struggle to keep upright, but you kept doing it. Eventually, you could ride around like a pro without even thinking about it. Maybe even with no hands!

    And the nice thing about learning computers is -- no skinned knees!

  4. Focus on one subject, and only go off on side topics if it directly relates and helps understanding of the main thing you're trying to learn about.

    Jumping around to a bunch of different things in one lesson is no way to learn.

    True, some people are what I like to call "non-linear learners" (think ADD) and they want to jump around a lot or they get bored.

    But even hyperactive people (I'm one of them) really learn best with short, focused lessons, and the *choice* to be able to jump from one topic to another -- as long as each short lesson is complete and not a jumbled mess.

These are a few of the things I discovered were holding people back from the confidence and skill that they deserved.

These understandings I gained from my years of studying this problem did lead me to a solution.

Over the more than twelve years that I've been a computer coach, I -- through a lot of hard work on my part, and a lot of thought and care -- figured out how to explain things in plain English.

I use metaphors and analogies, relating the complex and normally confusing terms to everyday, understandable objects like a table, a rug, a car. Things that you can relate to and that make sense to anybody, even a so-called "computer dummy".

I also learned how to bring things down to your level of understanding -- helping you grasp what I'm talking about, even if you're a beginner and still focused on the tiny details -- all without talking down to you.

But because of the limitations of teaching as a consultant -- the expense, the busy schedule, the need to have long lessons, and everything else I've just talked about -- I still couldn't help people get really comfortable with computers and advance the way I wanted them to.

So what I came up with is a new system: short, easy computer lessons (for both Macs and Windows computers) where you get to pop a CD into your computer and sit back and watch and learn more easily than you ever thought possible.

The lessons are short, focused on one topic, in plain English, and so easy to fit into even the busiest of schedules, since you get to learn at your own pace on your own terms, for a fraction of the cost of classes or a consultant.

And I even back it all up with a complete, no hassle, no arguments full one year iron-clad money-back guarantee.

If you try them out and they're not for you, no hard feelings. Just return them within the YEAR (no pointless "ten day trial" like some places) and I'll happily give you your money back, including shipping!

And remember, they're all broken down into simple, short, easy lessons that you can just sit back and watch, that makes computers as easy as the click of a mouse.

All you need to do is click here to get easy computer lessons for Mac or Windows (you chose which you want after clicking the link).

It's really easy, it's fun, and you get a whole year to try it out risk free. So all you have to lose is your frustration and confusion around computers.

And give up calling yourself a "computer dummy"!

You'll be glad you did.

Worth Godwin

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Worth Godwin has been giving people computer help
professionally for over a decade and a half, and as a hobby for years
before that. In the last few years he has focussed on his easy,
plain English approach to help people learn computer basics.

Join Worth's free computer tips newsletter now and get easy to follow emails that give computer tips, make sense of
basic computer terms, and deliver free, Plain English
easy audio and video lessons right to your inbox.


Sunday, August 12, 2007

A Simple Secret To Improving Your Basic Computer Skills (or If You Dig Yourself a Hole, Bring a Ladder)

Once upon a time, many years ago, I didn't know a thing about computers. People who know me, and especially my clients, often have trouble believing this.

But it's true; I wasn't born with some built-in ability to use computers. I started off as a complete novice, and had to learn as I went along.

In this article I'm going to explain something that I was very lucky to figure out on my own, way back when, that helped blast my computer skills into the stratosphere compared to where I started.

But first I want to tell you about a client of mine named Peter.

One day I was at Peter's office, helping him with a problem he'd had with his laptop. Peter has a problem which is very common – his computer skills never improve because he's afraid that if he tries something new, he's going to break his computer or mess things up somehow.

Maybe you've felt this way too.

So I was talking to him, and was telling him about when I first started driving.

When I first got my beginners permit, I wasn't very confident about what I was doing, and would get nervous when a car passed on my left, then a mailbox would be coming up on my right, so I ended up swerving, just a little, back and forth in the lane.

It probably looked pretty funny.

Of course, I didn't have to do this -- there was lots of space on both sides, and I wasn't going to be hit by anything.

All I had to do was just relax and drive instead of worrying about what might go wrong.

I've met a lot of people over the years who use their computers the way I used to drive back when I first started. And unfortunately, while I quickly got over this with driving, a lot of people never get past this problem with their computer.

The thing is, once I stopped worrying about something going wrong, and just relaxed and drove (while still, of course, paying attention to what was going on) I got a lot better at driving.

Turns out that Peter was kind of the opposite from me when he first drove. He actually "borrowed" his dad's car when he was just fourteen years old, and drove to a friend's house!

He dove right in and just did it, and probably really enjoyed himself...

...right up until the moment the cop pulled him over!

His attitude was great, and made it a heck of a lot easier for him to drive (even without lessons) than it was for me at first when I started to drive. If he'd just balanced that out by being a little more careful (or maybe waiting until he had his license!) he might not have gotten into trouble.

The attitude Peter had when he was a teenager about driving a car is the attitude I had about using a computer when I first sat down in front of one. I dove right in and just played around with it to see where I could go with it. And just by having that mental attitude, it made it a lot easier to learn computer basics, and improve from there.

But there was something else I did.

When I was exploring somewhere new with my computer, trying something I hadn't done before, I paid attention to what I was doing. I made a point of remembering how to get back to where I was, and what I did, so I could go back and fix it if it caused a problem.

So for example if I wanted to change a setting in a program, or try doing something new in a program, I first made sure I had some idea what would happen when I did it.

If I had no idea, I either looked it up, or left it alone.

If I did have some idea what I was doing, then I'd try it and see what happened, but would make sure I knew exactly what I'd clicked, and where it was so I could reverse it if I didn't like what happened.

And I'd only change one thing at a time, so if something went wrong, I knew what caused it.

The way I like to put it is "if you dig yourself a hole, bring a ladder."

Remembering this tip, and remembering to have the right attitude when it comes to computers will do a lot to help you feel more confident and empowered with the computer than you used to think you could.

So don't be afraid to try new things – just make sure you bring a ladder when you do!

Labels: , , , ,

Worth Godwin has been giving people computer help
professionally for over a decade and a half, and as a hobby for years
before that. In the last few years he has focussed on his easy,
plain English approach to help people learn computer basics.

Join Worth's free computer tips newsletter now and get easy to follow emails that give computer tips, make sense of
basic computer terms, and deliver free, Plain English
easy audio and video lessons right to your inbox.