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To feel like I'm banging my head off a wall...

(31 Posts)
WhitePhantom Mon 23-Jan-17 18:14:56

I have a friend, a lovely person, who is quite computer-illiterate. I'm very computer literate (I work on computers all day every day).

She wants to be able to do something on the computer that I have been doing for her since the beginning of 2015. I've gone through it with her very slowly, step by step, numerous times, and every time she's totally mystified. I explain what we're about to do and why, then point at the screen and explain what she needs to click / type / whatever, and (with quite a bit of difficulty) she does it.

It takes me under 10 minutes to do it, start to finish. Each time I go through it with her it takes about an hour and a half, because she genuinely just doesn't get it.

I did out a set of notes for her, laying it out step by step, including screenshots. I really can't make it any clearer (and it's not even something particularly difficult). I give computer training courses, and am always told that I give very clear instructions and notes, so I don't think it's that I'm not explaining it well.

She tried to do it at home by herself last night, and she couldn't manage it. She wants to call over and go through it again, which I know is going to be at least another hour, where she's totally and utterly baffled at every step. I suggested to her that I continue doing it for her, but she said she really wants to be able to do it herself.

She's a good friend, and I don't want to hurt her by telling her that if she hasn't grasped it at this stage she's not going to, but that's the reality of it. I've gone over it and over it with her, but there's never a flicker of recognition - it's like every time is the first time.

What do I do??

wowfudge Mon 23-Jan-17 18:18:31

Recommend a training course at a local college or similar. Half the problem is not knowing the way round a keyboard. You need to let her know that you don't have the time to go through it all again, though you are prepared to do it for her.

Astoria7974 Mon 23-Jan-17 18:25:21

What does she want to do? Can look up most things on a youtube video now.

Euphemia Mon 23-Jan-17 18:27:57

What is it she's trying to do?!

ollieplimsoles Mon 23-Jan-17 18:29:57

What is she trying to do? And is she NT?

DJBaggySmalls Mon 23-Jan-17 18:29:57

Agree with Wowfudge, if she doesnt get the bits around what she is trying to do, it wont stick because it has no context.

MrsNuckyThompson Mon 23-Jan-17 18:33:46

If I were you I think I'd invite her round but when she gets there just say that this is the last time that you can take her through it because unfortunately you just don't have the time. Although you'd be more than happy to do the 10 minute job (maybe with her watching?!) if she'd like you to.

The suggestion upthread of a Youtube video is a good one - she can then watch and watch and watch a hundred times over if she likes.

This would do my head in!!

WallisFrizz Mon 23-Jan-17 18:36:35

The You Tube idea is a good one (if she can work that!) or you email her a video of you doing it?

user1471506380 Mon 23-Jan-17 18:39:52

I was clueless until I did an ECDL course. The penny dropped slightly after the first lesson! A better solution might be they sometimes run basic computer usage courses for free at the library. She is being too demanding to take up so much of your time. The ECDL (European Computer Drivers Licence) isn't all that easy and I admit I had to ask my ds2 to explain some things to me.

PastysPrincess Mon 23-Jan-17 18:42:51

I get this all the time at work. I used a simple pivot table to confirm some figures and was told "that looks like witchcraft". Definitely find it on YouTube.

If you have a smart phone can you take photos of the screen as you go along so it looks exactly the same as her screen when she comes to do it again?

barinatxe Mon 23-Jan-17 18:45:02

Some people just aren't cut out for certain things. No matter how great a trainer you are, or how determined she is, if you have shown her something multiple times then either
i) your training isn't very good after all.
ii) she's just not capable.
iii) your training style doesn't work for her.

Showing someone the same thing the same way over and over and expecting a different result will often lead to disappointment. You are frustrated, she probably feels stupid.

You say she is very computer-illiterate. Is she missing some basic knowledge that is needed to complete whatever task you are trying to show her? Running a macro in Excel will make no sense to someone if they don't understand that a macro is a set of instructions the computer runs, or they don't understand what Excel is even used for, for example. People do take time to learn though. Even simple stuff like a vlookup made no sense to me until the tenth time someone had patiently explained it, and now I see the bloody things in my sleep!

Could she take a course at a library or something like that? Round here they run free courses for people of all (or no) abilities. She needs to develop her own understanding, and a basic grounding will help her do this.

QueenMortifauxcado Mon 23-Jan-17 18:45:28

I've done computer training for total beginners and if I had to take a guess I'd say she's petrified of something and that's affecting her memory. Maybe ask if she's scared of something (it's usually a fear of breaking the computer) and try and build confidence in that area? I've found touch typing games get people engaged and used to the keyboard if that's part of the problem.

wasonthelist Mon 23-Jan-17 18:53:07

YANBU my mate had to give up trying to get me to grasp calculus and valencies (in Chemistry). I reckon I could maybe scrape a GCSE pass now (like I did then) in Maths and Chemistry, but I'd need to study full time for 4 years.

Also, in spite of having a decent job in computer software and even having done some coding in a commercially-released product in the past, and being otherwise good at Excel and similar spreadsheets, pivot tables remain witchcraft to me. I can get 'em working, but it takes a lot of effort.

WhitePhantom Mon 23-Jan-17 18:54:12

Thanks all. Yes, she's NT.

It's preparing a sign-in sheet in Excel for a club that she runs, and as anyone who knows Excel will know, you can do about a million different things with it, so looking up YouTube wouldn't give her the exact steps for the exact task at hand. The sheet changes from week to week as new people come on board, so it has to be updated each week.

I have done it myself with her watching, got her to do it with me telling her what to do at every step, given her extremely detailed notes and got her to try and do it with me sitting beside her and helping when she got stuck, got her to try it herself at home and see how she gets on (in case she was getting flustered with me there watching her) - I don't know what else I can do!

I honestly believe I could go over it another 10 times and it wouldn't make any difference. I will have to tell her I don't have the time, won't i? sad I feel bad about it though.

dodobookends Mon 23-Jan-17 18:58:33

Is it just this particular task she is struggling with, or is it that she doesn't understand the concept of how Excel works?
<Excel trainer here>

QueenMortifauxcado Mon 23-Jan-17 18:58:49

Hmm. In that case I'd maybe send a few links to 'how to' type blog posts and let her get on with it. I have known some people who just panic and fall back on a failsafe if they have one, could that be it? If so there is a chance being left to figure it out will do some good.

ImperialBlether Mon 23-Jan-17 18:59:55

I think when you have someone like this, when you look at their eyes when you're telling them how to do it, they're absolutely panicky and don't know where to look on the screen. At that point they're not taking anything in.

Everyone's different - some take a lot in on a complicated screen and others panic. If you've been doing this with her for two years, I'd give up now.

WhitePhantom Mon 23-Jan-17 19:01:18

Sorry, lots of posts since I started my last post - got distracted with something else.

ECLD would be way beyond her. She uses her laptop for browsing and sending very basic emails, and that's about it.

The thing that kills me is she has a printed copy of the sign-in sheet beside her, and she's looking at the screen in front of her, so she can SEE what she's starting with and where she needs to get to.

WhitePhantom Mon 23-Jan-17 19:06:15

Dodo - it's computers in general. I've had to do hand-holding with her when she's composing an email in her Gmail account too.

She's not nervous or panicky - she's very calm and listens carefully when I explain it and follows my instructions, but the next time we sit down I have to explain it all again. She just doesn't retain any of it.

I haven't been trying to teach her for 2 years - I've been doing it for her for 2 yrs, but since last October she wanted to learn how to do it herself. We've gone over it together about 6 times so far, and she's tried it herself many more times but got stuck so I then did it for her.

wasonthelist Mon 23-Jan-17 19:11:05

OK, sorry - what is NT? Google wasn't my friend.

WhitePhantom Mon 23-Jan-17 22:02:40

NT = neuro typical (iirc) ie no special needs or learning difficulties.

harderandharder2breathe Mon 23-Jan-17 22:08:55

From seeing my grandparents use computers (both do online banking, grandmother is on fb), things that are intuitive to us just aren't to them. Like if you end up somewhere unexpected on a website, just going back or clicking the main website home thing. Or moving between applications. They were completely flummoxed. They're in their 80s so I think good on them for trying

If you've given her written instructions why can't she follow them? Does she normally struggle to learn new things? (Not being patronising, at work some people pick up new processes much quicker than others)

Show her once more then say I'm really sorry but I can't keep doing this. Here are written step by step instructions for you to follow, or i can do it for you.

BrowsOnFleek Mon 23-Jan-17 22:14:03

Would writing up notes with screen shots attached at each stage help? Talk her through every single step. Might take a while but would save you explaining all the time, and if she still doesn't get it then I don't think you're being unreasonable to say you don't have the time.

Charley50 Mon 23-Jan-17 22:21:49

Can't she use Word instead and make a table that she copies and pastes and edits every week?

Or does the sign in sheet need to be Excel cuz it has figures in it?

There is something about Excel that many people just can't get their head around.

wasonthelist Mon 23-Jan-17 22:30:27

Thanks WhitePhantom

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