Personal computer instruction

computer userPersonal computer instruction (tutoring) is a concept in which I really believe. I know it from firsthand experience when I was learning (more years ago than I care to admit), and I have seen its value in the hundreds of clients with whom I have had the pleasure to work. I believe that personal computer instruction is the best way to learn.

Let’s say you decide you need to learn how to use a particular program – for example, Microsoft Word. You already have Word installed on your computer, so you just need to get to know it and make it do what you need it to do. So you go to your local bookstore (or Amazon) and buy one of those nice big $50 books because it must have everything you need to know in there. It even comes with a CD – it must be good, right?

So there you are, Word open on your computer, book lying open on your desk, ready to learn. You start typing and suddenly you see a solid line appear from left to right across the page. You click the Delete button, but it doesn’t go away. Now you have a few questions:

– What is that line called?
– How do I get rid of it?
– How do I look this up in the book, when I don’t even know what to look up?
– What’s the author’s phone number? (Yeah, good luck with that!)
– Wonder if I can get my $50 back for this book?

It’s a rather frustrating experience. Perhaps you have had a similar experience (or several). I talk to clients all the time who go through this kind of thing.

Now let’s look at a different scenario. You have Word open on your computer screen, but no book in front of you. Instead, sitting beside you is a patient teacher who is there to provide personal computer instruction. So when something happens on the screen, and you don’t know what caused it or how to fix it, you can immediately ask the question that is on your mind: “What caused that? How do I fix it?” No fumbling through pages, or trying to look in an index…just a simple question, and an immediate answer. That’s the beauty of personal computer instruction.

I think it’s a good idea for you to have a list of questions or issues that you want to cover, to make sure we go over everything that you want to learn. From the time you call me, it might be a few days before our appointment for personal computer instruction, so during that time keep a running list of the important items for us to discuss. That way we have an agenda.

Here is my normal procedure for personal computer instruction on a particular procedure:

Let’s say you want to learn how to send a picture by email. What I normally do is go through the process three times.

Step 1. The first time, I will go through the process slowly while you just watch. That way you get a good overview of what is involved.

Step 2. The second time, I will go through the same process, but this time you will take notes. You will write down each individual step that is required to complete the process. We will go through this as slowly as we need to, so that you can write down the specific directions on how to do it.

Step 3. The third time through, we will switch chairs and you will do it, following your own directions that you wrote in Step 2. This way, you know that you will be able to follow those directions yourself even after I leave. If there are any problems with following the steps, we can get that cleared up while I am still there.

I have found that this method of personal computer instruction is very effective. Does it make you a little uncomfortable having to perform the process right then, following your notes? Maybe a little. But that’s what makes you learn. It is much better to be a little uncomfortable and know how to do it than to just observe, and then the next day ask yourself, “Now how did he do that?” After all, the whole idea is for you to learn.•

I can teach in the following areas, and more –

Windows • Word • Powerpoint • Craigslist • eBay Selling • PhotoShop • Digital Photography • antivirus • setting up a new PC • burning a data CD • internet reasearch • Buying a Computer • Excel • Access • Email • eBay Buying • Downloading music • backing up your data • antispyware • home networking • burning a music CD • setting up a blog

This list is by no means complete. If you are interested in personal computer instruction about something not listed here, please contact me to discuss your situation.

I provide personal computer instruction throughout the Tampa Bay area. I can also tutor nationwide, via remote access – you and I talk by phone, and we look at your computer screen at the same time. It’s a great way to learn!