Recommended free tech comm webinars

If improving your tech comm skills was on your list of New Year’s resolutions, then chickening out just got a whole lot harder: There are (at least) 4 first-class webinars in the next 4 weeks, so you can attend them anywhere you have Internet – and they’re free, too!

Tech comm trends for 2013

Sarah O’Keefe‘s Scriptorium rings in her webinars this year with another instalment of annual trends, intermittently delivered as blog posts. I recommend this webinar on the strength of Scriptorium’s previous predictions: Even if they didn’t affect my job directly, I’ve found their trends thought-provoking and relevant.

To see how right they’ve been, check out my coverage of their trends for 2012, 2011 and 2010. My guess for this year is we’ll hear about documentation for mobile devices and more about the intersection of tech comm and content strategy.

The 2013 edition on Thursday, 17 January at 11 am EST / 5 pm CET will be special in two regards:

  • Scriptorium solicited nominations for trends on twitter last month.
  • The webinar will feature Bill Swallow as guest.

Given Sarah’s knack to sniff out industry trends and Bill’s penchant for lively discussion, this should be an excellent webinar.

Cognitive Design for User Assistance

Ray Gallon and I share a passion for exploring what makes tech comm tick: I’ve explored some of its cognitive foundations in my presentations “Pattern recognition for technical communicators” and “Addicted to meaning“. Now Adobe sponsors a series of 3 webinars where Ray talks about “Cognitive Design for User Assistance“:

  1. Users Become Learners
  2. Empowering User/Learners Through Cognitive Development
  3. Integrated Learning: Building Customer Loyalty

I’ve heard Ray give a condensed whirlwind tour of the same area in his presentation “The Hairball of Content” at TCUK12. I’ve found it very stimulating: Ray has a unique way to tie high-level concepts, such as cognitive development theory, to applicable guidelines and examples. I’m looking forward to seeing how tech comm can “help users learn principles that they can transfer from one use case to another” and how to get that to work using topic-based authoring and DITA structures.

The webinars are at 1pm EST / 7 pm CET on Tuesday, 15 January, Tuesday, 29 January, and Monday, 4 February.


Neither Sarah nor Ray have promised me anything to plug their webinars – in fact, they don’t even know I’m doing it, but I trust they don’t mind… 🙂