The documentation here focuses on the technical aspects of building tracks. On topics such as how do you create tracks, challenges, scripts, and track invites.
But there is an important step you should do before building a track: design. Because the success of your tracks depends on how effective you design your tracks. No matter how excellent your demonstrated software is, your learners will drop out if your track does not serve them.
Of course, you want to avoid that, and this guide provides you with a method to design effective tracks. Tracks that learners will play with pleasure and leave them with the knowledge you want them to have.
The three learner types you should consider
The foundation of effective track design is to consider the different learner types. Because when it comes to learning, you can distinguish three types of learners:
The Listeners, who learn by hearing something explained to them.
The Watchers, who learn by watching something demonstrated to them.
The Doers, who learn by doing something according to instructions given to them.
Just picture one of your former school classes, and you will recognize these three types. And it is crucial for you to serve all the learner types to make your tracks successful.
Recognizing the different learner types is half the equation. But you will also need a method to captivate the different learner types in your tracks. And this is where TSD comes into play.
How to captivate each learner type
To captivate each learner type, you should apply the TSD method in your tracks. TSD stands for:
Tell means you explain your software by telling your learners how it's organized or works. The telling can also be (partly) in writing.
Show means you explain your software by demonstrating it. The showing can also cover diagrams or other visuals.
Do means you give your learners your software plus instructions and assignments and let them try and discover.
And together, they form TSD, which satisfies all learner types because:
The Tell-part serves the Listeners.
The Show-part serves the Watchers.
The Do-part serves the Doers.
Bonus when applying TSD
Applying TSD in your tracks ensures you satisfy all your learner types, but you and your learners will also get a bonus, as this saying goes:
Tell me and I will forget;
Show me and I will remember;
Do and I will understand.
Now let's see how you can bring TSD into your tracks. The focus is on challenges and these three challenge parts:
And the following describes how you can use these parts regarding TSD.
Tell and show with the assignment text
Each challenge is introduced and accompanied by an assignment text like the following:
Assignment text example
You can use the assignment text to tell how your software is organized or works. Furthermore, you can add images or diagrams to the assignment text that show certain aspects of your software. With this, you serve both the Listeners and the Watchers.
Tell and show with Notes
Each challenge can be preceded with notes that introduce a challenge or give extra information to the learner:
You can base notes on texts, images, or video files. And again, this serves the Listeners and the Watchers. Especially video files can be very effective as they appeal to both the Listeners and the Watchers.
Do with Tabs
Each challenge can have one are more tabs that expose terminals or editors where learners can enter commands or create code:
Terminal tab example
VS Code tab example
You can add tabs with accompanying tasks (in the assignment text) to fulfill, which serves the Doers among your learners. To further support the Doers, you can add challenge check scripts to help them when they get stuck or reward them when they succeed.
Apply TSD to design effective tracks
Design is a creative process by nature. You can propose a design flow and method like in this document, but you cannot give a detailed sequence of 'do this, do that'-instructions for designing. So it's up to you and your creativity to apply TSD in your track design.
And when you do so, you will discover that the TSD balance differs from track to track. A track with the goal to inform about your software will focus on telling and showing. And a track that aims to instruct your software will focus on doing.
So, yes, it depends to what extent you apply each part of TSD in a track. But always hold the three learner types in mind when you start thinking about the setup of your tracks. And ensure that you address the tell, show, and do part to engage all your learners.