Kathy Sierra once again wrote a rather passionate blog entry about encouraging the readers to RTFM. A lot of technical writers and information developers might argue that it could all depend on the material, or the context within which a particular piece of information is being written. Or more importantly, it all depends on the end-user whose attention span narrows down with every passing second (i.e., losing passion to learn from TFM).

Sierra’s definitions of characteristics of a “world class” learning material is a little vague, but it they could be interpreted in many ways as long as you have the end-user in mind:

Characteristics of World-Class User Learning Materials

1) User-friendly
Easy to use when, where, and how you need it.

2) Based on sound learning principles
i.e. users actually learn from it, not just refer to it.

3) Motivational
Keeps users willing to push forward to higher “levels”

user manual

Essentially, an “ideal” learning material should be fun, smart and accessible.