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Writing training materials (or, the Cousin Rule)

I recently wrote a tutorial for members of the Women's Information Network on updating their profiles:

This pushed out this morning to approx. 900 organizational members, and I have a goal of getting at least 40% of those members to actually do what I describe in the tutorial – help form a robust member database.

It'll be tough.

I really enjoy training, as it always turns into a unique challenge … here's the joke/rule we've used in the past on other teams:

The Cousin Rule (I'm from Kentucky, so yes, this is a fun self-depreciating jab)
If you're dumb cousin can't understand it, rewrite it.

It's a simple rule that helps you step back and say "Ah, we have to tell them to click the submit button or they might not, and then the data's not saved.." In school, we did a module on educative (? tutorial ?) writing. While I'm not sure if this was your average writing class, it's proved to be extremely valuable. All of the people in the class wrote tutorials and let other students execute them to the letter. So, if you wrote a tutorial on how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich but didn't tell someone to open the bag before trying to "get two slices of bread" … well, let's say you were SOL that day grade-wise.

I recall that I wrote "How to Play Marbles." Now given, I have no idea how to play marbles now, but I believe I arrived at this after failed attempts to write origami tutorials. I think I can recall this experience so well because I've encountered lots of times where writing a tutorial is necessary. Do people find that common?

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