I have been reading a book on Object-Oriented Analysis & Design from O ‘Reilly. Now, O ‘Reilly publishes books that, in my opinion, are most of the time good reads and contain a lot of in-depth information. This book appears to be different. Actually, it even says so in it’s introduction:
“How can this be a serious programming book?”
“What’s with all the graphics?”
“Can I actually learn this way?”
One look at the cover (no familiar animal cover) gave me the shivers: This is not for me!
I persevered. They actually did all the graphic and layout stuff on purpose: they tried to make a book that helps you to learn. Now that caught my attention. I always want to learn about learning and I found some neat markers in the introduction that I would like to summarize here.
First the principles:
- Make it visual.
- Use a conversational and personalized style.
- Get the learner (reader) to think more deeply.
- Get – and keep- the reader’s attention.
- Touch their emotions.
Then what they did:
- Use pictures.
- Use redundancy.
- Use emotional content (humor, surprise, interest)
- Use a conversational style.
- Use activities to be done by the reader.
- Use multiple learning styles.
- Use both sides of the brain.
- Use stories.
- Use challenges and questions.
- Use the 80/20 rule. Only the things you need are included.
And here is what we as readers should do:
- Slow down. Read, stop and think.
- Do the exercises
- Read ALL of the content.
- Give your brain a little rest after reading.
- Drink water. Dehydration decreases cognitive function. (If you do not understand this you should definitely have some water)
- Talk about it.
- Listen to your brain.
- Feel something. Get emotional involved.
- Design something. Apply what you have read.
The content itself is interesting for people that want to learn OO Analysis and Design and know little or nothing about it. But to teachers and writers it’s an excellent example of reaching your audience in a different way.