eastwalker | 赴東行者
eastwalker | 赴東行者

Exploring the essence, fascinated by the mysteries | 探究本質、迷戀玄奧 溫故知新中……

Sequential vs Random

An insight about shortening a reader's learning curve…

I was reading a software manual PDF file. While browsing this PDF document, I found the inconvenience of navigating the document from a human-friendly perspective. This reminds me to think on the differences between "random" and "sequential," and their subtle effect when speaking of learning processes.

The advantage of sequential learning is to follow a liner structurer from basic to advanced levels, while its disadvantage is that it takes a longer time to complete the learning of a specific advanced topic.

In comparison, random learning is usually happens to the self-taught people who need to access the specific advanced topic immediately although they might not have enough basic knowledge relating to the advanced topic.

Every book has a content list, but most of them do not reveal the information to address the relationships between sections to sections, or chapters to chapters. In my opinion, a topic of a section or a chapter is usually interlocking to each other in a non-liner structure. Sometimes, I don't read a book from cover to cover, especially for those technical guides, but just jumping directly to a specific topic. In contrast, I still read a novel or a storytelling book in a sequential order.

To join both advantages of sequential and random, a new way of designing tutorial materials can be found. The solution is to provide a prerequisite foundation guide line for the advanced topics; thus, readers can follow this guide line to build up the whole picture right away. Afterwards, no matter readers follow a sequential structurer or choose to read in a random order, they will not lost in the whole forest.

Living in the new digital era, inter-activities have played a very important role in many aspects. As digital dictionaries has really made a difference than the traditional printed ones, the instant access power turbocharged the speed of searching.

Now, back to the very beginning, regarding this manual, even though the document is capable of keyword searching, the search results have flood me already. I am so hunger for a multi-routed structure which will take me from everywhere I am to everywhere I want. The experience is pretty much like doing research in the popular Wikipedia web site.¶

Image source: Wikipedia


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