The Bones of a Killer How-to Guide: 3 Types of Knowledge

Recently my work group acquired Adobe Pro DC, and subsequently, we were tasked with creating a user guide to facilitate ease of use, flatten out the learning curve (-:, for colleagues who would also need to use the program.

I had learned from my experience editing a document with Adobe Pro DC that one process and three tools of the program are commonly used when editing a document: Converting a document to Adobe Pro DC, Edit PDF, Prepare Form, and Organize Pages. As the work group brainstormed ways to approach the project of designing a user guide, I thought it would be most appropriate to create individual how-to guides for the process and each of the tools mentioned above then collate the how-to guides into one booklet. Regarding the tools, I thought it would be a good idea to tell the user what the tool is, when to use the tool, and finally how to use the tool; that is, each how-to guide would include three (3) types of knowledge- declarative, conditional, and procedural.

I am convinced a comprehensive, aka “Killer”,  how-to guide will be the end result when it includes what a tool or object is (declarative knowledge), the circumstances in which a tool, object, or process is used (conditional knowledge), and how a tool, object, or process is used or carried out (procedural knowledge).

Caveat: A learner analysis to examine prior knowledge is the best way to determine if all three types of knowledge should be included in a how-to guide or the extent to which one should include an certain type of knowledge. For instance, it is possible that the learners know what a tool is (declarative knowledge), but they do not know when (conditional knowledge) or how (procedural knowledge) to use it. On the other hand,  a learner may know what a tool is (declarative knowledge) and when to use it (conditional knowledge), but he or she may not know how to use it (procedural knowledge). Conduct a learner analysis to be sure of which types of knowledge to include.

Be Extraordinary!