Ive just recently finished reading a great book called How Learning Works: 7 Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching (most of the chapters are available for free through Google Books).

A big part of the book was dedicated on value, how and what to teach so your students find your lessons valuable.

So I thought: Hey, these principles apply to all people. We, as online publishers, are also trying to contribute value to our readers. Google also recommends often contributing value on the web but they dont tell you how. Why not take some of the most important principles Ive learned in the book and apply them to the web? This article will be attempt to do just that.

The advice below is useful for both a) online publishers in general b) SEOs who want to listen to Google recommendations on creating good content but have no idea how to do it.

Connect the Content to Readers Interests


You can easily create both viral and useful articles using this principle. Try to connect what youre teaching to what your readers are already interested in. For example, if youre writing on learning Arabic and know your readers love Arabic movies (that may be the reason they decided to learn Arabic in the first place) then you can create articles like:

Arabic Lessons Learned from [some popular Arabic movie] or
What can Arabic Movies Teach you About the Arabic Language

Provide Real-World Examples


Lets say you have a website on dating where youre teaching men the best practices of using online dating sites. Instead of providing vague step-by-step instructions, you can do this:

- Create a case study where youll take a young man and guide him on how to use a particular dating website (PlentyOfFish, for example) and show everything: how he setup his profile, the messages he sent, the messages he received, how he proposed a date and so on.

People learn a lot more when you connect what youre teaching to the real world (just look at what I do in this article J ). This is especially important if youre teaching abstract principles to beginners.

Show Relevance to Readers Current Professional Lives

Man at Work

If you try to teach Excel data analysis to an SEO, hell probably say youre wasting his time. What if you show him how data analysis can be used to find potential backlink opportunities? Now you have his attention.
Its the same with all areas in life. If you want to teach something unrelated to your current topic, first how your readers that thing directly relates to what theyre currently doing.

Show Your Passion and Enthusiasm for the Topic


Passion and enthusiasm can be very contagious. If you are excited about the topic youre teaching, SHOW IT. Dont be afraid. People will notice that and become more intrigued and interested.

If you want a great example of this, take a look at the blog of Avinash Kaushik. Analytics may seem like a boring subject but once you read what Avinash has to say about topic, things are never going to be the same.

I hope you found these tips to be helpful. The science of learning has a long history and a lot of exciting discoveries. If youre interested in learning more principles and lessons from this exciting area, please let me know in the comments.