How can I help those less-technically inclined to think more abstractly about using a computer? Also, what's the best way to introduce smarter behaviors to avoid problems down the road and encourage them to learn and explore on their own?
Disclaimer: I searched and found a couple of threads somewhat similar, but not necessarily in the same vein of what I'm asking.
My main issue is when, through my job or friends and family asking for assistance, someone will often begin by saying "I'm such a luddite" or "I know absolutely nothing about computers". This more than anything drives me up the wall because it's used as an excuse not to try to learn about what to do or why they're doing something a certain way.
I suppose the first part of my question is this: how do I teach someone to think about computers and gadgets like a more advanced user would
? By this I mean, a long-time computer user when faced with a brand new gadget will skip the manual and start playing with it, learning the menu hierarchy and seeing how they should navigate the phone. They search through settings menu and when they want to do something, they look for a menu item somewhat related to what they want to do. If that didn't work, try try again. Very much like this XKCD comic
so eloquently lays out. This is my biggest challenge: trying to get them to self-help and explore without making it sound like I just don't want to help.
When I'm showing a relative how to print labels in Microsoft Word and they want to start writing every single step for future reference, I cringe and try to explain that doing so is useless should a new version of the program come out or they switch brands or something.
Secondly, I want to know how I can teach people to be smarter about using computers
. A few weeks ago, I was assisting a friend's sister with her laptop because she couldn't play YouTube videos. She was using IE6 with seven search toolbars, an expired version of the Norton AV that came with the computer, and a system tray bursting with junk. It was as if she'd click on anything at all; she wasn't aware of phishing or spyware either.
How can I teach people the crucial and basic skills like being cautious of what you download and install, reading dialog boxes rather than just "next next nexting" through them, and hovering over links to see where they lead before clicking? What other lessons or ideas have you folks found productive with this audience?
Thanks, all suggestions are appreciated.