“Head First” Writing and Learning
O’Reilly has coined the term “head first” referring to their approaching readers as learners. Most of it is common sense and yet is not done by so many writing content to help others learn — especially in wikis. It boils down to this:
- “Make it visual.”
- “Use a conversational and personalized style.”
- “Get the learner to think more deeply.”
- “Get — and keep — the reader’s attention.”
- “Touch their emotions.”
It is worth mentioning that I had confirmed this approach for myself before there were ever such books in existence. I would add memes to the content that the people learning would relate too. One learner later told me some years later that it helped him remember the concept better and where to look in his own projects for examples of how to do it again. I wasn’t doing anything special, just thinking more about the learner than the writer.