Learning didactics

October 12th, 2015

The Basic SEO Course not only provides you with all the knowledge needed to optimize your site to the fullest, but it also aims at making you understand this knowledge. This is a rather difficult goal because:

a) everyone uses a different way/ method to learn;
b) an e-learning only gets one chance to touch the heart of its audience: if a student gets distracted or unmotivated, there’s no one around to find another way to re-involve the student in the learning process.

In order to meet the two conditions mentioned above, we need a didactic that:

a) appeals to all the different people in our audience;
b) has no limitations regarding usability, we don’t want our students to get distracted.

Three ways of learning

In order to fully understand the core elements of a learning process, we need to go a bit back in time (when there weren’t any educational experts around preaching best practices). There were three ways, across different cultures, how people used to learn:

  • learn by watching;
  • learn by doing;
  • learn by instruction.

Learning by watching is best explained by a stereotyped example of Asian culture. The example we’ll use is the one of the chef-cook and his apprentice. The chef-cook prepares a deadly delicacy for his guests: the pufferfish. The chef’s apprentice is only allowed to look while his chef prepares this deadly fish for dinner. The apprentice needs to watch this process for two whole years before he’s allowed to prepare the fish himself.

Learning by doing is best explained by a stereotyped example of African culture. This example is about the elder- and the younger village members. The younger members of the village go hunting with the elder ones, but the elder ones don’t prepare nor instruct the younger ones: they have to learn everything themselves as they are going with them on the job.

Learning by instruction is best explained by a stereotyped example of Western culture. The example here is the (strange) concept of schools. Within a certain geographical range, students were gathered to go to one central place. In this central place all of the students were instructed about their (future) jobs: they had to learn most aspects of the job in theory and were tested afterwards.

Nowadays, educational experts have created lots of different learning didactics, but if you look closely, you’ll always find that it’s based on one (or more) of these core elements: watching, doing and theoretical instruction.

The Basic SEO training: a combination of elements of learning

In the Basic SEO Course these core elements of learning are combined and specified to meet the learning needs of our audience (and the wide variety of people it consists of). To be more precise, every lesson in this course consists of:

  • a video presentation that walks students through a certain learning topic;
  • a text that provides a detailed description of the topics mentioned in the video;
  • a quiz that forces you to rethink all the information mentioned in the video and text.

Every lesson in the Basic SEO Course discusses an important aspect of SEO, but that’s not enough. You’ll also have to gain a certain “feel” of how the different aspects of SEO relate to one another. The Basic SEO works on that “feel” by offering the lessons in a pre-arranged order. A student will therefore learn holistic SEO in a way/ order that Yoast oughts best, while preserving the learning needs of our students.

Next to that, students shouldn’t get distracted while working on this course: we don’t want a student to quit during a lesson. We combat this by letting students complete a didactic cycle within every lesson. Simply put, this means that all of the lesson’s material is accessible from one page and that everything a student learns in that lesson will be immediately tested. This tremendously increases a student’s comprehension of the learned material.

Jaromir Ekstijn, MSc., educational scientist

Joost de Valk is the founder and CEO of Yoast. He's a WordPress / Web developer, SEO and an Open Source fanatic. He's also (and more importantly) the father of three sons called Tycho, Ravi and Borre, a daughter called Wende and the husband of the lovely Marieke, who also works at Yoast. Read more about Joost and find all of his posts »

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