Google Helpouts update: Helping people learn, thinking about business strategies

After a few weeks of occasional 15-minute Google Helpout sessions with people interested in improving their learning and note-taking skills, I’ve learned a little more about what I like and what I want to focus on. It’s mind-boggling, but it turns out that I can actually help people with stuff. Yay!

I started with free sessions, and quite a few of my early Helpouts were with university and graduate students looking for ways to get through lectures and prepare for exams. I picked up a lot of questions and put together additional resources, which I’ve been sharing through Flickr (see the Learning category). Since the Helpouts were free, I thought about what would make it worth my time and theirs.

2013-11-06 Helping students with study skills

I got a number of inquiries from parents who were interested in helping their kids study better. I felt less comfortable doing that, although I didn’t run into the scenario I was most worried about, since the parents I talked to were generally upbeat about their kids’ studies.

2013-11-18 How do I feel about parents asking me if I can help their kids study

I decided to put together some quick tips anyway, building on our experiences with helping J- and her friends study. Then I revised my listing to focus on self-directed learners.

2013-11-18 Helping your child study

So far, it seems to be going well. Getting reviews like this makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. =)

Sacha was cheerful and obviously passionate about ways to make learning fun. As she introduced me to the various approaches of visual note taking I was surprised at how much freedom it gave me to personalize my notes. Newly armed with the confirmation that doodling is OK I’m excited to see how it effects my attention & recall of topics I’m less interested in. Sacha covered all the basics I needed to get started & even listed some online sites where I can learn more. I definitely recommend this Helpout! – James Derieg

I’d like Google Helpouts to flourish as a platform, and I enjoy participating in the private Helpouts Discuss G+ community with the other providers. It’s great to see lots of people experiment with business strategies and approaches for Google Helpouts. For me, I’m not (yet) planning to build a business out of it. I see it mostly as a way to make it easier for people to schedule quick one-on-one chats with me, and if I happen to help other people with what I’ve learned (and collect lots of great questions to write/draw about!), all the better.

2013-11-21 Google Helpouts Business Strategies

Google Helpouts also has to make sense for Google in the long run, too. Otherwise this might go the way of Google Wave and Google Reader! So I put my tech evangelist/strategist hat on and thought about some of the possible futures for Google Helpouts.

2013-11-18 Imagining Helpouts futures

 

We’ll just have to see how it goes!

I’m not opening up any Helpouts slots in December because I don’t know what my schedule will be like, but you can check out the resources I’ve shared at http://sach.ac/learn and sign up for updates on upcoming Hangouts on Air and new Helpouts availability. Let’s keep experimenting!