Reviewer guide

The “show your work” trick

egghead lessons are concise by definition, but there’s another reason to keep your lessons sharply defined.

Too many ideas in one lesson means you’re glossing over concepts. Let’s say you mention “condition X could crash your app” because you want to cover your bases, yet you don’t take the time to really get into that subject. All you’ve accomplished is alarming your audience without giving them any solution.

Show, don’t tell

Show your work! You probably heard this when your high school math teacher forced you to write out the steps to a solution to get full credit for your answer.

It applies to coding instruction, too. The simple act of typing something out, highlighting a block with your mouse, or logging something in the console makes concepts infinitely more approachable.

If a user sees you walk through those steps, they gain confidence that they can do it, too. If they only hear you talking about concepts, they can’t readily tie the concepts back to the code. Worse yet, they might stop paying attention altogether.

Watch on mute

Here’s the trick: Turn off your audio and watch your lesson without sound.

It should be obvious from the visuals what you’re teaching. You may notice periods of 5+ seconds where nothing is happening. “Nothing” usually means you’re getting off-topic and thought it would be tough to show what you’re talking about. When you catch a section of “nothing,” write down the topic you weren’t showing. Save it for another lesson!

With this one trick, you’ll quickly turn one lesson with a lot of tangents into a focused, concise lesson about one topic. Or if you’re interested in creating a course, those tangents could each be a separate lesson.

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