Improving the Learn WordPress Working Group meetings

It’s been about four months since the Learn WordPress Working Group started meeting at its current frequency and schedule. Immediately after launch, the meetings were very active as we navigated new ideas and brainstorms for Learn’s next steps.

I have the impression that the meetings have been a bit quieter since we’ve started moving from that initial brainstorming phase into planning for and working on many of those ideas. With that in mind, I have two small requests to make to help improve these meetings.

Fill out the Doodle poll for new meeting times

I think it’s a good time for us to revisit our current meeting times – especially since I know there are some other meetings that either overlap or happen right around the same time as the Learn WordPress Working Group meetings. 

Fill out the Doodle

Let’s aim to keep this poll open until Tuesday, April 20th. This gives us enough time to share a reminder in the next Learn WordPress Working Group meeting on April 15, 2021 at 19:00 UTC, as well as sharing a reminder in upcoming Training team and Community team meetings. 

I’ll share the top two times that cover the most timezones by the end of the day that Tuesday so folks can put the meeting into their calendars as soon as possible.

Revisit the format of our current meetings

Currently, the Learn WordPress Working Group meetings typically follow this format:

  • Team check-ins
  • Updates (i.e. announcements or new workshops published)
  • Discussion items
  • Open floor

I’m wondering how others feel about this structure and what’s currently included in the meetings. In particular, it would be helpful to know:

  • How do you feel about the current cadence, length, or format of the Learn WordPress Working Group meetings?
  • What is missing from our current meetings? What is working well?
  • What would make these meetings more meaningful or impactful for you?

In addition to any of the questions shared, please feel welcome to include any others that you feel might be missing.

As always, if you’re interested in helping to facilitate or plan these meetings – or are simply interested in attending – please do share in the comments or reach out in the Training Slack channel!

#learnwg

+make.wordpress.org/community/

Learn Workshops: Revisiting the content wishlist

As part of the beta launch for Learn WordPress, the Learn WordPress Working Group compiled a number of ideas for workshops/videos and course content on the Learn siteLearn site The Training Team publishes its completed lesson plans at https://learn.wordpress.org/ which is often referred to as the "Learn" site..

It’s been a while since we re-visited this list and many topics in the wishlist have already been incorporated into workshops. Likewise, I know I have personally received workshop ideas or requests from discussion group attendees looking to grow in a specific area of their WordPress skills. I imagine I’m not the only one!

Having a wishlist of workshop items – and, potentially, courses – can also help new contributors get involved. A clear list of content needs and wants for Learn WordPress workshops acts as a list of actionable items for folks to get involved more easily.

With that in mind, I’d like to propose two actions:

  • Review the Content Wishlist tab in this Google spreadsheet. What other ideas can, or should, be added to this list? Is there anything that should be removed, i.e. because it’s covered by another resource on the site? One thing I’ve noticed in particular is that we have a lot of “Beginner” content but not a lot of “Intermediate” or “Advanced” content on the list. New ideas there may help to encourage a wider variety of workshops.
  • Re-visit the existing format. Is the Google spreadsheet helpful, or is there a more visible format we can switch to? For example, a highlighted P2P2 P2 or O2 is the term people use to refer to the Make WordPress blog. It can be found at https://make.wordpress.org/. post, TrelloTrello Project management system using the concepts of boards and cards to organize tasks in a sane way. This is what the make.wordpress.com/marketing team uses for example: https://trello.com/b/8UGHVBu8/wp-marketing., a Google spreadsheet with a link in the Training blog sidebarSidebar A sidebar in WordPress is referred to a widget-ready area used by WordPress themes to display information that is not a part of the main content. It is not always a vertical column on the side. It can be a horizontal rectangle below or above the content area, footer, header, or any where in the theme.. Likewise, it might be useful to include prioritization or categorization to help sort workshop ideas.

I see many benefits to keeping these calls for ideas open on a rolling basis, so anyone can add suggestions at any point. With that in mind, feel free to add workshop ideas directly into the Content Wishlist tab and/or leave a comment on this post with input, suggestions, or feedback on the format or any other related ideas.

#learnwg

March 2021 Sprint Planning

The Training team is using the Sprint method to determine what we are working on and to determine our timeframe for delivery.

What is a Sprint?

[Sprints] are fixed length events of one month or less to create consistency. A new Sprint starts immediately after the conclusion of the previous Sprint.

https://www.scrum.org/resources/what-is-a-sprint-in-scrum

Sprint Content on Learn Goals (Lesson Plans)

Theme: How to contribute to the WordPress Project with screenshots and videos (guidelines for how content within screenshots and videos appear).

Think about these with as much consideration toward accessibilityAccessibility Accessibility (commonly shortened to a11y) refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people with disabilities. The concept of accessible design ensures both “direct access” (i.e. unassisted) and “indirect access” meaning compatibility with a person’s assistive technology (for example, computer screen readers). (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accessibility) as possible.

Ideally, these guidelines could be adopted by other teams as well, turned into a video series of workshops, and help onboard others into several parts of the project. Additionally, it lifts needing to maintain this from our team handbook into content on Learn.

Sprint Functionality of Learn Goals

Sprint Team Functionality Goals

Stakeholders Meeting

We missed our goal for February on planning a meeting to kick off stakeholders meetings. These would be cross-team collaboration in the organization of our goals. Ideas have included:

  • Learn Functionality
    • Learn Working Group/Community
  • Content Planning
    • Release squad
    • Marketing
    • Docs

Next action: learn from Marketing how release comms planning occurs and from Docs when they plan content for pending releases. Plan an initial review post 5.7 release date.

#slides, #sprint, #sprint21m

X-post: Review/Feedback Request: UX for learn.wordpress.org

X-post from +make.wordpress.org/design: Review/Feedback Request: UX for learn.wordpress.org

Lowering Barriers to Entry for Workshops on Learn

You may be asking yourself: “What is she talking about? Workshop content on Learn is free!”
Unfortunately time and high data costs can be exclusionary.

Quick Case Study: How to Find Help With WordPress

Challenges:

Length

This video is 31 minutes in length.

While this may sound reasonable for an introductory video, this should use approximately 160 MB of data.

At an Out-of-Bundle rate, this is approximately 2.5 x minimum wage for domestic workers in a developing economy – and therefore inaccessible by and exclusionary to many users.

Quality

Videos on Learn only offer the ability to turn on High Definition.

There is no option to set the video to a lower quality setting for streaming.

This is an inherent limitation of VideoPress.

Speed

Videos on Learn can only be watched at 0.5, 1, 1.5. and 2 speed.

These speeds tend to be unnatural.

Unfortunately, VideoPress does not currently offer 0.75 and 1.25 speeds, which are more natural.

Proposed Solutions:

Content Guidelines

Instructional videos should be scripted.

Discussion videos (panel discussions) on more complex topics can be very valuable content on Learn.

However, particularly for introductory topics, scripting topics heavily avoids repetition and should help to keep video lengths efficient.

If a contributor would like to submit an unscripted workshop, they should include a compelling motivation in the application why this best serves the interests of Learn users.

Lesson Plans should be submitted for all Workshops.

To ensure that Workshops benefit from input regarding curriculum development and best practices in terms of teaching philosophy, this proposes that a Lesson Plan (in outline form) should exist before workshops are recorded.

This will also facilitate the harmonization of Workshops and Lesson Plans into Courses at a later date.

Chapters

Workshops should be broken down into chapters, with descriptive titles.

Long-format videos are not conducive to meeting the needs of students in particular, as the information contained in workshops is not searchable.

Video is not an ideal format if you would like to review information again at a later date.

This proposes that a “Chapters” widgetWidget A WordPress Widget is a small block that performs a specific function. You can add these widgets in sidebars also known as widget-ready areas on your web page. WordPress widgets were originally created to provide a simple and easy-to-use way of giving design and structure control of the WordPress theme to the user. is added to workshops on Learn, with time-stamped links.

Subtitles

Subtitles should be submitted at the same time as the Workshop.

Users should not have to watch the video to get access to subtitles.

Subtitles should be viewable on Learn itself (possibly as a custom blockBlock Block is the abstract term used to describe units of markup that, composed together, form the content or layout of a webpage using the WordPress editor. The idea combines concepts of what in the past may have achieved with shortcodes, custom HTML, and embed discovery into a single consistent API and user experience.) and should be downloadable.

Subtitles (in the original language) should be required for all scripted videos on Learn.

Subtitles for unscripted videos like panel discussions should be uploaded as soon as practical.

Browser-side Caching

Carefully consider caching behaviours on Learn.

Content on Learn should not change often and the caching periods should be as long as possible, unless a user manually clears their browser cache.

If possible, use version cache busting.

Buffering

Investigate whether the buffering is sufficient for users on slower internet connections.

Download Option

Make it possible for users to download videos directly from Learn.

This is particularly desirable in educational settings, where multiple users may share devices / a copy can be placed on a central network for everyone’s offline viewing.

Licensing

In order to facilitate downloading, sharing and to encourage proper academic habits in relation to citations, prominently include licensing information on the Learn website and preferably in the videos themselves.

Feedback:

We need your input and engagement in order to realize the goals set out above.

Please comment below!

License:

The contents of this post are made available by the author under CC-BY-SA 4.0. International.

Request for Testing: Slides Plugin

The Training team is on the lookout for simplified way to create slides. We need:

  • An interface similar to writing a WordPress Post
  • A centralized location to access slides
  • Means to audit and revise slide content as WordPress coreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress. updates
  • Consideration for accessibilityAccessibility Accessibility (commonly shortened to a11y) refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people with disabilities. The concept of accessible design ensures both “direct access” (i.e. unassisted) and “indirect access” meaning compatibility with a person’s assistive technology (for example, computer screen readers). (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accessibility) and translation
  • Means to download or use the slides without internet connectivity

We have historically tried tools like Google Slides and Shower.js (similar to storing Reveal.js slides in GitHubGitHub GitHub is a website that offers online implementation of git repositories that can can easily be shared, copied and modified by other developers. Public repositories are free to host, private repositories require a paid subscription. GitHub introduced the concept of the ‘pull request’ where code changes done in branches by contributors can be reviewed and discussed before being merged be the repository owner. https://github.com/). We found some of these options worked, but still were a barrier for new contributors to use.

Use Case:

During State of the WordState of the Word This is the annual report given by Matt Mullenweg, founder of WordPress at WordCamp US. It looks at what we’ve done, what we’re doing, and the future of WordPress. https://wordpress.tv/tag/state-of-the-word/. 2019, Matt’s presentation used a blockBlock Block is the abstract term used to describe units of markup that, composed together, form the content or layout of a webpage using the WordPress editor. The idea combines concepts of what in the past may have achieved with shortcodes, custom HTML, and embed discovery into a single consistent API and user experience. editor pluginPlugin A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites. WordPress plugins are written in the PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress. These can be free in the WordPress.org Plugin Directory https://wordpress.org/plugins/ or can be cost-based plugin from a third-party to create the slides, with quite a crew of folks that helped build the plugin and his presentation.

Get Slides Plugin:

You can find the Slides and Presentations plugin on Plugins:

Benefits

This Slides plugin looks especially interesting because it would offer us :

  • Using slides in the WordPress editor experience
  • A centralized location for auditing and empowering to update later as the revision tools become available on Learn
  • Options to download the slides
  • Templating for design, accessibility, and good UIUI UI is an acronym for User Interface - the layout of the page the user interacts with. Think ‘how are they doing that’ and less about what they are doing.
  • No pre-required skills with GitHub to create or present the slides

Testing and Feedback

  • Install the plugin
  • Create a simple slide presentation
    • Add additional slides
    • Add media
    • Use the speaker notes
  • Save the slides
  • Display in browser
    • Does your theme conflict with slides displaying? (having the plugin on Learn would use the Learn theme – possibly with custom styles for that post type, solving any theme conflicts)
  • Export the slides

Comment below with feedback

Learn WordPress Working Group – Call for Handbook Volunteers

Whether you’re a first-time blogger or a seasoned developer, there’s always more to learn.

That’s how start the Learn WordPress site which encourages visitors to take a workshop and learn, or use a lesson plan to share WordPress with others. The one huge thing we’re missing on the Learn siteLearn site The Training Team publishes its completed lesson plans at https://learn.wordpress.org/ which is often referred to as the "Learn" site. is the documentation to help people who want to share WordPress with others create the very video workshops we’re sharing. It’s time to fix that with a brand new handbook!

Some documentation was written up as we built the workshop portion of Learn but it’s incomplete and unpublished. I’d like to change that by the end of February 2021 by publishing a handbook for contributing to Learn by creating workshops, leading discussion groups, and vetting workshop applications. 

Since this is a relatively new way to contribute we’ve been making it up as we go along, but now it’s time to get these processes out of our minds and onto the screen.

I’ve put together an outline for the handbook and with the help of @evarlese and Hari Shanker we’ve fleshed out quite a bit of content. But there is still more to add and there is the whole thing to review. 

If you’d like an advance look at the existing documentation, you can view the read only document here. Edit access will be given to contributors next week.

This coming Monday, February 1 at 9:00am PST I’ll host a discussion in the #training channel of WordPress SlackSlack Slack is a Collaborative Group Chat Platform https://slack.com/. The WordPress community has its own Slack Channel at https://make.wordpress.org/chat/. to discuss next steps and answer questions for volunteers. If you’re interested in contributing by helping to build this handbook please join me then. If you’re not available at that time feel free to comment here to show interest or ask questions or pingPing The act of sending a very small amount of data to an end point. Ping is used in computer science to illicit a response from a target server to test it’s connection. Ping is also a term used by Slack users to @ someone or send them a direct message (DM). Users might say something along the lines of “Ping me when the meeting starts.” me in slack where my username is camikaos. 

+make.wordpress.org/community/

#learn-wordpress

Learn WordPress: Blue sky thinking

As we get closer to launching Learn WordPress, and we continue to explore ways to improve the platform, a number of contributors started to pull together some ideas in this post for what we’d like to see Learn look like in the future.

This originally started as a Google document, so I’ve tried to capture most, if not all, of the comments shared in revisionsRevisions The WordPress revisions system stores a record of each saved draft or published update. The revision system allows you to see what changes were made in each revision by dragging a slider (or using the Next/Previous buttons). The display indicates what has changed in each revision. of this list. However, these ideas are just a starting point to collect all of our ideas and visions for Learn. Please keep adding thoughts, ideas, clarifications, and so on as you think of them!

Project Goals

Learn WordPress is an online platform that offers free educational content for anyone interested in learning how to publish with, build for, and contribute to WordPress. It is intended to be the primary learning resource for anyone wanting to learn how to do more, and help others do more, with WordPress.  

We aim to:

  • Educate about WordPress
  • Appreciate the power of WordPress and how it’s made
  • Celebrate all the cool things people are doing with WordPress

What could this look like?

Think of this as answering the question: “What could Learn WordPress look like in 2023?”

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