Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Learning: a case study

I love learning stuff. I mean, that's the point of my blog and it's the point of my job. But sometimes I just get really disillusioned with just how difficult making headway can be.

I've been chipping away at Japanese for, well, it seems like for ever, and it is very rare to get an "Oh, wow!" moment any more. You know, the bit where suddenly you realise you can do something entirely different - a no-going-back moment where you see you can do things differently and better than you could do them before.

I had that recently when I went back to HTML class and, with the aid of a really good text book, found out how the how DIV tag and CSS thing has made HTML a whole lot neater. But since I'm not a web jock, this was cool to know but not life enhancing.

On the other hand, a friend asked me how to do advanced form making on Word, something that I've always meant to get round to doing, but never really had the time. With a little bit of searching on the web (which, it has to be said, led me down some pretty dark alleyways - thanks a lot to the muppet that advocated doing it with self-made macros...) and some clever interpolation of Word's own help files, I managed to fathom out how it worked.

And kick-ass grin it brought to my face was a real burn.

But the unfortunate fact of the matter is, I'm stumped if I can work out how or where you lever that kind of feeling in to the day-to-day learning me and my colleagues have to pull together for our customers. However, having remembered what it feels like, I'm going to be thinking more about it in future...

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

A periodic table of visualisation

You may not get the sense of it from this wordy blog, but I'm a fan of visual methods of writing, most typically as seen in mindmaps.

This clever take on the periodic table offers a summary of many ways of representing information in visual formats.

Taking this as inspiration, I can see lots of ways to improve on the standard clickable or animated graphic I might want to rope in to a course.