In “Three essential lessons for teaching beginning computer users,” I tackled the problem of training beginning computer users. I asked you to send me your suggestions for teaching “newbies,” and one common theme emerged: How to use the mouse.
Practice your prestidigitation
You can’t get to Carnegie Hall without it, and you can’t become a proficient computer user without it either—practice, that is. TechRepublic reader Joan McGrory wrote to share this training tip: “I find that beginning users often have a problem with the double-click action of the mouse. They are often trying so hard that their hand jumps between the first and second click, so either the icon moves or no action is taken. To help them past this, I have them do these exercises:
- Take your hand off the mouse and set it in a natural position on the tabletop.
- Start tapping your index finger on the table as if you were impatient.
- Then move your hand to the mouse.
This practice helps them feel a bit more comfortable with the finger motion involved in clicking. (I have also found this exercise helps beginners who otherwise would not rest the palm of their hands on the back of the mouse.)”
“I believe that the magic behind this tip is that it teaches them the posture first and then the computer interaction. In this way, they learn the movements without being afraid of breaking something.”
TechRepublic passport owner Paula Gregoire-Jones, a DP specialist from California, agreed: “Let the beginners know a little practice will help them. If they have a real problem getting the hang of the mouse, suggest they practice the drag and drop functions on the desktop and learn to double-click by playing Solitaire.”
In addition to mastering the art of the double-click, many beginning computer users have trouble following the mouse pointer. If you’d like to share your tips for helping new users master basic computer skills, please post a comment below or send me a note . I’ll publish the best tips on the site.