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How to follow along with video tutorials

This may sound silly but here’s a video about how to watch videos. Please stick with me a minute.

My Mom was having trouble remembering all the details in some Mac Help For Mom videos, so I asked how she was using the videos. She said she took notes while watching and then would try to follow the notes to do what I taught. I suggested that instead she watch the videos and follow along with the steps at the same time. This video shows how easy it is to switch back and forth between watching a video tutorial and immediately practicing what you learn.

Video too small? Watch full screen by clicking the YouTube Full Screen button button here

The key to successful learning is to practice immediately after you learn something. So if you’re watching a video about an iPhoto technique, launch iPhoto and find a photo that you can practice on. If your screen is big enough, resize and position your iPhoto window and the web browser window with the video so you can see both of them. This isn’t critical but it helps.

As you’re watching a video tutorial, make frequent use of the video pause/play button. You can also just click in the middle of the video to pause and resume playing. Also take advantage of the scroll bar under the video to replay portions of the video that you want to watch again.

When you pause and want to switch to the other application, there are many ways to switch:

  • Clicking on its icon on the Dock (noting that running applications have the little bluish white dot next to their icon)
  • Using Exposé (usually the F3 key, or sometimes a four-finger swipe down on the trackpad)
  • Command-Tab (displays and cycles through list of all running applications)
  • Clicking on visible portions of an application in the background

Try all those methods and see which work best for you. I tend to use Command-Tab the most, especially when my hands are already on the keyboard. But when my hand is on the trackpad or mouse, I’ll often click on a visible corner of a background window. If I’ve lost track of all my open windows, I’ll often use Exposé for a big picture view, and then since all my windows are displayed so nicely I’ll click on the one I want to go to.

Oh, the other key to successul learning is repetition. So when you learn a new technique, practice it for a few minutes everyday for awhile.

So give that method a try with some Mac Help For Mom videos you haven’t watched yet. Leave a comment below reporting if this method helped you remember more, or if you have any other tips for better learning.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • barb September 15, 2011, 4:25 pm

    As ever, you are so easy to follow and I appreciate your emails SO much.

    I am saving all of them, and this winter when there isn’t so much gardening to do I will listen, watch again and practice!

    Thanks so much, from one of your loyal fans.

  • Carol February 2, 2018, 6:44 am

    I just discovered you!!! thank you for realizing a person does need help just in learning how to watch tutorials. Your advice here is fantastic and I will follow it the next time I try to learn something. Let’s face it, the computing world is complex and many moms I know have just given up.

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