Re: thoughts on making a true Beginners Guide

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Re: thoughts on making a true Beginners Guide

Postby daverii » Fri Nov 06, 2009 7:49 am

I have just found this thread which I see as good news, bad news and confirmation of one of my prior views.

Prior View - Loads of Joomla documentation, big problem for beginners is finding the way in.
Bad News - The job I see in front of me may be even bigger than I already think.
Good News - There is a wealth of excellent resources.

Keep on truckin' - as I understand they say on the other side of the pond :)
Tony Davis

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Re: thoughts on making a true Beginners Guide

Postby mandville » Fri Nov 06, 2009 2:23 pm

is this where i say " have you asked a 'beginner' what they actually want?" or "cant find the answer to..." when they started?
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Re: thoughts on making a true Beginners Guide

Postby AmyStephen » Fri Nov 06, 2009 2:34 pm

Tony -

The trick (IMO) is going to be figuring out how to identify a do-able piece of this - and turn it into a list of items - each of which can be taken by a different person and accomplished in 2 hours, or less.

Bear in mind, there are an increasing number of inexpensive books for those who decide they want to pursue using Joomla! as a commercial tool.

I believe our target audience is new people who want to get started with Joomla!, or are considering using Joomla! and need enough to get an idea of how to work with it. It might be worthwhile to tailor this learning experience in such a way that it can be accomplished from start to end in four hours, or six hours, tops.

Then, one of the most important parts for me is that we find a way to make it easy for others to chip in to this effort. The organization is the real challenge. I'm glad this thing has your interest. If you can look at it from a perspective of "How can I communicate with potential writers to get them to build what we need?"

If you can lay that structure out there, and help provide clear, easy to use instructions for participation, and select a target that is not overwhelming, but do-able, then we can get the word out that community is needed, maybe even for a Documentation Weekend to kick it off and signal what's happening to the community.

That's your big challenge, to me. If you can get that structure in place and build something smaller than perhaps your overall dream is, you can augment that with a second, and third phase, and wind up with something that the community helped make happen, is proud of, and will help keep that resource alive.

You can see that I am encouraged by your work. I think you can make a positive difference here. Thank you!
Amy :)

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Re: thoughts on making a true Beginners Guide

Postby daverii » Fri Nov 06, 2009 4:10 pm

Mandville - yes I have, but I don't have loads of them. I would like to make it so that they can contribute to what they see explaining what they see to be good bad or indifferent.

Amy - I am on it, I think less than 48 hours away.

Thank you both for the support.
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Re: thoughts on making a true Beginners Guide

Postby serenity now » Tue Nov 10, 2009 6:40 pm

The last few posts are getting to the heart of this endeavor. I will offer some of my thoughts. [Not a single word of this is sarcastic b.t.w.]

The beginner-level documentation must be effortless for the beginner.

Loads of Joomla documentation, big problem for beginners is finding the way in.

This is a great point. The beginner should only have to find the first word of the beginner documentation. From there he/she proceeds from left to right, top to bottom, page to page. [not sarcastic]

The beginner should not at any time say "Wait, What?". The documentation is the what/who/where/why/when. If the beginner is asking questions of what/why/who/when/where/how, -then the information/documentation is not beginner-level.

Albert Einstein:

“If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough”

Conversely: If its not explained simply enough, the learner won't understand it well enough. (or at all.)

Einstein also said:

"It should be possible to explain the laws of physics to a barmaid."

The thing is to find someone who is capable of explaining things on a rock-bottom level. Here is a question I'd like to hear people's thoughts on: Is the system called Joomla! so complex, and does it involve such technologies, that it cannot be explained simply. And one must learn these technologies [MySQl, Apache, FTP, ..] in order to read a manual on Joomla and understand it to the point that they can use it? Even a Yes or No would break the silence on this issue.

Another question is exactly what/how much does one need to know to use Joomla! (in an average way. Obviously to do something like write a custom PHP module, one has to know PHP. But we're talking about a typical user.)

~

Bear in mind, there are an increasing number of inexpensive books for those who decide they want to pursue using Joomla! as a commercial tool.

Although I haven't by any means read all the books out there on Joomla! and PHP etc, I have started reading several. They start off with something that is understandable by a beginner, but by literally page 2-8 they are jogging swiftly along and have left the beginner in the dust. Some don't even start off walking along with the beginner, they just sprint right from paragraph 1.

So the 'official Joomla! beginner course' could stand out in the world of documentation, if it is truly beginner-readable. My father used to say "Compare yourself to the best, not to the worst."

I believe our target audience is new people who want to get started with Joomla!, or are considering using Joomla! and need enough to get an idea of how to work with it. It might be worthwhile to tailor this learning experience in such a way that it can be accomplished from start to end in four hours, or six hours, tops.

I am reading between the lines [and I could be wrong], and I think Amy is saying that if a solid beginner course is created, the beginner can complete it, and then be able to understand the other non-beginner books and documentation that are available.

This is a good idea. It has been pointed out in this and another thread that everything in the world of PHP/_AMPP/HTML/websites/etc cannot be covered in a beginner's course. The question is what things does a beginner need to know before they can move on to other sources? (there needs to be a primer before moving on to even the books with "Beginner" in the title.) And, can these things be learned in a 4-6 hour course?

Einstein said 'if you study a subject for fifteen minutes a day, you will be an expert in that field within a year. If you study that subject for fifteen minutes a day for five years you will be a national expert.'

What I'm about to say is very crucial here: I don't think it matters much if the beginner guide is quite long. It matters that each and every thing in it is understandable to a beginner, in order, from the first sentence to the last sentence.

I very much want to learn Joomla. I would read several thousand pages. But if I'm lost at page 3 or page 1, then why continue reading?

As a guideline: 15 minutes * 365days = 5,475 minutes divided by 60 = 91.25 hours

But <60 seconds is how long a beginner reads a given document/book before he/she encounters things that he/she doesn't understand. Understanding is the what needs to be taking place. (not to be lost sight of).

As to what things need to be taught, I don't know because I am a beginner. Something that needs to be considered is the "who's". Who is responsible for a given security issue, who configures the installation, who...? In the existing documentation there are things that are presented to the reader, but its unclear as to who will do the things, -the webhosting company? me? Do I have to tell the webhost to do this? Also I don't know who I'm protecting my website(s) from. Hackers I guess. But do hackers hack into -for example- a fan website about movies, or a blog about squirrels? -imo there should be some info about these things in the beginner's guide. Without the why, the beginner is lost, and also they have less 'motivation' to learn/do a given thing.

It seems that many of you work professionally in teams/companies. It should be borne in mind that the average beginner [I, for one anyway] is a team of 1. If they don't understand a given thing and don't do it, there is no other department or individual that can/will do it. And nobody to teach it to them.

~

is this where i say " have you asked a 'beginner' what they actually want?" or "cant find the answer to..." when they started?

What this beginner wants is something I can read through and understand what I need to understand, to start using Joomla!; or alternately, to proceed to non-beginner, intermediate-level documents.

This is what is assured and all but promised in the Joomla! website. If this is A) not possible, or B) not completed, -then I would like people to say so, and we can at least make the Joomla website express the truth about how easy it will be for a beginner to learn Joomla! -whatever that truth is.

I am volunteering to read and offer beginner's feedback on anything anyone writes. Sentence-by-sentence if necessary. But if you give me chapter 4 first, I'm not going to be able to evaluate it.

A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.

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Re: thoughts on making a true Beginners Guide

Postby daverii » Tue Nov 10, 2009 7:48 pm

Serenity now - thank you very much.

My hope is that the beginner guide will not be one that requires understanding. I think about it in the manner of cookery recipe books.

For beginners - an instruction booklet with lots of pictures.
For intermediates - include some options to allow variations on a theme
For advanced - some explanation of why recipes work leading to new creations.

And, in Joomla! terms the cooks are:

Beginner - someone who just wants to create their web site without too many frills.
Intermediate - a web designer with a few sites to manage.
Advanced - someone who would like to venture into new components, extensions, etc.

This all seems to be possible in what I am up to and soon, I hope, that you will be able to review work.
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Re: thoughts on making a true Beginners Guide

Postby serenity now » Mon Jan 18, 2010 3:29 am

Is there any progress on this project that I can review?

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Re: thoughts on making a true Beginners Guide

Postby mandville » Mon Jan 18, 2010 3:55 am

i dont think so.. it could be people are waiting for 1.6 to writ that instruction manual
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Re: thoughts on making a true Beginners Guide

Postby serenity now » Sun Jan 31, 2010 1:36 am

When is 1.6 being released?

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Re: thoughts on making a true Beginners Guide

Postby mandville » Sun Jan 31, 2010 1:51 am

serenity now wrote:When is 1.6 being released?

when its ready - see the announcements forum viewtopic.php?f=9&p=2020491#p2020491
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Re: thoughts on making a true Beginners Guide

Postby serenity now » Mon May 17, 2010 8:53 pm

Is there any progress on this project that I can review? as of May 17th 2010

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Re: thoughts on making a true Beginners Guide

Postby amirariff » Tue Jul 06, 2010 6:52 pm

serenity now wrote:Is there any progress on this project that I can review? as of May 17th 2010

What sort of progress are you looking?


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