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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Computer Basics: How To Get better At Computers Without Learning a Thing

I've been giving people computer help for a long time now – over thirteen years as a professional, and for years before that, I was the "computer genius" (their words, not mine) everybody came to when they got stuck.

I've been paying attention to all those people over the years, and I've noticed something; for most people, the biggest problem they have with computers is actually very simple, and it's something they have total control over – their mental attitude.

I consider myself really lucky because I was born at a unique time. I'm just old enough to not only remember the first home computers, but also remember clearly what it was like before anyone had one in their home.

I think I was around ten years old when I first sat down in front of a computer. The first thing I thought was how cool it was, and how much fun I was going to have using it.

I dove right in and started played around with it, just seeing what I could do, and I wasn't intimidated by the fact that I didn't yet understand computer basics.

Back then, I only had a couple of friends with computers (it was still rare in the 80s) – they must have gotten really tired of the way I hogged their computer for hours at a time, every time I came over!

Finally, a few years later, my parents bought me my own computer, and I sat down and taught myself the basics of how to use it.

Now it's really common with people even just a few years older than me to think that they'll never be any good at computers because they didn't grow up with them. They think because they didn't get to learn computer basics as a kid, that it's hopeless.

Even people my age feel that way a lot!

I happened to be lucky enough to go to a junior high school that had two computers (which was a lot at the time!), and was lucky enough to have a couple of friends who owned them too. So I got exposed to them earlier than a lot of people my age.

But think about it: I was I born with some natural talent at computers?

No, of course not.

I didn't know a thing about them back then. And you know what? I made a lot of mistakes when I first learned to use them!

But I learned from those mistakes.

I've thought about this a lot over the years, and really, I think the biggest single advantage I ever had, was that I was able to really imagine all the ways I could have fun using the computer – and because I was just playing around with it, because I was enjoying the process of learning, it made it easy.

I bet there's something in your life you really enjoy a lot. Could be football, basketball, or some other sport; it could be restoring vintage cars, cooking, or collecting stamps.

It could be any of a hundred other things – the number of things people are passionate about is just as many as there are people.

But chances are, there's at least one thing in your life that you get really excited about, and really enjoy. And whatever it is, I bet you know a lot about it, and probably could talk about it for hours.

And I bet you never thought learning about this was something hard or intimidating. And in fact, you probably think it's pretty easy, and fun!

Just imagine for a minute what it'd be like to feel the same way about using a computer.

I know some of you reading this are thinking "yeah, right." But understand, I'm not asking you if you could suddenly find the computer easy. I'm just asking you to just *imagine* what it'd be like if computers were fun and easy for you.

Just pretend.

Because one of the most important things you can learn, that will really help learn computer basics, and even master your computer, is not memorizing technical computer terms like what the difference is between memory and a hard drive (although if you don't know this, you can find a plain English explanation in the computer basics articles section of my web site) or anything else like that.

One of the biggest things you can do to help yourself get better at computers is to simply change the way you feel about them.

And that can be just as easy as using your imagination, and pretending you already find them easy, and that they're fun to use.

Because when you can learn to experience even just a little of what you feel when you're enjoying your favorite hobby, you'll be surprised how much easier it is to skyrocket your computer skills.

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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.


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

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.