Why aren’t we teaching the basics?

I was at a friends office yesterday helping them with a computer problem and when I went to demonstrate something by going to his companies web site he said “how did you do that?”.

I wasn’t sure what he meant because I simply started typing the domain into the address bar and then clicked on the full URL and it loaded. He repeated, “how did you do that?”. He then went on to explain that he didn’t know how I ended up on his companies web site.

I explained that I went to the address bar and…he interrupted and said “the what?”

From there it went well and I showed him what the address bar was, how to type the URL into the address bar and how to pick a URL from the history if it was there. It ends up the only way he knew to get to a specific web site was to either find it in his bookmarks or, if it wasn’t bookmarked, to go to google.com and search for it and then click on the link in google.

Next he asked how I was able to send a link in an email so that the receiver was able to click on it and go directly to the web site. I showed this and then set a time for next week to do a quick (or possibly not so quick) tutorial on how to use a computer and the Internet.

The point of this email isn’t that this friend doesn’t know how to do things but rather, why aren’t we teaching people how to use a computer more effectively? Those of us who have adequate computer knowledge make the assumption that everyone has this knowledge but the reality is there are many very intelligent people who are wasting significant amounts of time. They aren’t wasting this time because they want to but rather because they don’t know any better. It’s not that they wont ask questions but they don’t know what is possible so they don’t know what questions to ask.

Take a look around your organization, are there people in your groups who could be more efficient and more effective with some simple training? If so, why not provide that type of training since it will help all involved?

Just something to think about.

Have a great day!


3 Replies to “Why aren’t we teaching the basics?”

  1. Lawrence,

    I believe this comment could easily be a metaphor to so many different areas of expertise. Basic understanding of how things (meaning anything) works is a challenge. We could so much by learning ways to be more efficient and effective. This is but one example.

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