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Principles and Heuristics for Designing Minimalist Instruction

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The minimalist approach that we advocate has received widespread attention as a better way to develop training and information (e.g., manuals, online support). Empirical studies support its claims of effectiveness, vut they also point out that practitioners find it hard to develop minimalist instruction because of a lack of specific guidelines. In this paper, we offer a comprehensive overview of the principles and heuristcs that can be used to create minimalist instruction. These principles and heuristics are illustrated by examples from various task domains and for different kinds of supports. In many cases, they are accompanied by a theoretical rationale or some empirical background information. The principles and heuristics are presented not as rules to be followed strictly, but as suggestions on how to create minimalist instruction in different contexts and for different audiences, applications, and purposes.

Document Type: Journal Article

Publication date: May 1, 1995

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  • Technical Communication, the Society's journal, publishes articles about the practical application of technical communication theory and serves as a common arena for discussion by practitioners. Technical Communication includes both quantitative and qualitative research while showcasing the work of some of the field's most noteworthy writers. Among its most popular features are the helpful book reviews. Technical Communication is published quarterly and is free with membership.
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