If you’re anything like me, you probably have done this many times: install a piece of software and then… just start using it. No tutorial or course, perhaps not even reading the quick start guide. Personally I have done this with Photoshop Elements. Whenever I’m not sure how to go about it, I will just search for a YouTube video or a blog article and I figure it out.
There’s even a name for it: just-in-time learning. I’m not sure who coined that term, but I’ve come across it several times now and it describes the process perfectly.
When you’re working with Dragon, though, this is a Very Bad Approach. At least, if you rely on the Internet at large as a source of information.
It is just incredibly unproductive and it will hinder your getting optimal use out of the software.
And here are the reasons why.
1. You set yourself up for failure
In the beginning, everything is fine: You’re all excited about downloading the speech recognition software. The installation went successful and now you are going to dictate your first email. Yay!
Imagine the disappointment when the recognition is plain crap. Dragon just doesn’t write down what you said, it doesn’t come near. When you say a command, it writes down some text. Or perhaps you intended to dictate some text and suddenly something weird happens.
Why!?! You are certain that you are speaking clearly. Why won’t the stupid program work?
Frustrated, you go back to the tutorial or the online help system. You’re absolutely sure that you are following the instructions to a T, but it still isn’t working for you. You quickly come to the conclusion that the software just isn’t up to par. Perhaps you ask for a refund, or you just stop using it because everything you try just makes you more frustrated.
This frustration and failure is totally unnecessary. But let’s check out the next reason for why you need a Dragon course.
2. You WILL cheat
To come back to my earlier analogy with Photoshop, let’s suppose I need a blue background for an image. If I don’t know how to accomplish this, I will have to find out how to do it. Because I have no alternative. I cannot take my pencil and colour the background blue by hand.
You can see where I’m going here: which speech recognition, if you don’t know how to do something by voice, you CAN cheat. And you will. (Been there, done that 😊)
Your keyboard and mouse still work, so you will find yourself tapping away at the backspace key rather than using the appropriate speech command to delete text. You will find yourself using the mouse, even when it is not the most effective way to accomplish your desired results. Or even if it hurts you to use the mouse, because you simply will not take the time to figure out how to do it by voice.
And I get it, you just want – or need – to get the job done. But you are going for the short-term workaround, rather than investing in long-term productivity.
If this isn’t bad enough, let me tell you the third reason why you need a Dragon course.
3. You don’t know what you don’t know
It never ceases to amaze me how often I get the remark “Oh wow, I didn’t know you could do that with Dragon!”. Even people who have used Dragon NaturallySpeaking for many years rarely do more than scratching the surface of the possibilities. And to be fair, most people don’t need to use all the features that the speech recognition software has to offer.
But unless you are severely limited in what you can do with your hands and arms, you also purchase Dragon for convenience. Not just for need.
If you are not aware of Dragon’s features and options, you are losing out.
It’s like riding your bicycle in first gear all the time. You never found out that you can switch to other gears to increase your speed much more efficiently. There you are, peddling your feet like crazy. While all the time you could have been cruising on in a higher gear.
You really do need a Dragon course
And more specifically, you need the Learn Dragon Online membership course.
1. You will set yourself up for SUCCESS
Doing a course will help you hit the ground running when starting out with speech recognition.
Unlike the online help or tutorials, the courses at Learn Dragon Online also highlight what to do when things go wrong.
Because I use Dragon all the time myself, I’m pretty familiar with the things that can get messed up. Your success is my success, so I will always try to provide an explanation, solution or workaround.
2. You will use Dragon productively
No more hitting the backspace key to delete unwanted text when it is much faster to use speech commands. You’ll know exactly how to move the cursor around in your document by voice, so that you can concentrate on your dictation. You won’t need to reach for the mouse or keyboard every 10 seconds to fix something.
3. You will know what’s possible
If you join the Learn Dragon Online membership, you will have access to tutorials for effective dictation, vocabulary building and command and control of your computer by voice.
The lessons in the courses consist of text, to-the-point videos and downloadable cheat sheets. But most importantly, there are exercises with most of the lessons. That means that you immediately apply what you learned, which is the 100% most effective way to become skilful.
But perhaps the most important thing about the Learn Dragon Online membership is the following:
You don’t have to do it alone! We’ve got your back.
Any questions? As a member you can ask them 24/7 in the community and get my answer. The live Q&A’s offer an even more customised support opportunity. During the Q&A, I could even have a look at your computer screen if you want to show some puzzling Dragon behaviour.
I’m confident that you will decide that you don’t need just any Dragon course, but this unique combination of self study and individual assistance.