Thinking About Lesson Titles

The first challenge for any bite-sized lesson is coming up with a topic. If you feel stuck, here a few things to think about:

Is there a new library or utility that's piqued your interest? Did you finally solve that head-scratching (or keyboard-smashing) problem? Maybe you've seen something useful on StackOverflow?

It is essential that you understand what you are about to teach.

Giving your lesson a solid title and summary before you hit record makes your life much easier, and in turn makes your content more useful and meaningful to the thousands of developers who will watch it.

Let's walk through an example of the thought process behind a lesson title and summary:

“I've been working with React a lot lately. Something interesting about React components are their lifecycle methods that each fire at particular times."

You might quickly think of something like this for a title:

React Component Lifecycle Methods

This is a tempting title!

It's too broad for a bite-sized lesson. Let's think about it a bit more and see about narrowing the topic down:

"Reading about lifecycle methods in the React docs, I've noticed that componentWillReceiveProps isn't as clear as some of the others."

Now we have a target! Continuing to drill down on componentWillReceiveProps, we can write a quick summary of what the viewer can expect:

In this lesson you will learn how to dynamically update a React component's state based on the properties that are passed into it. We will take a look at the React component componentWillReceiveProps lifecycle method, and how to use it effectively.

Here's a trick to coming up with a good title: In your head say "How do I...", and then summarize your summary.

You wouldn't say "How do I... React Component Lifecycle Methods: componentWillReceiveProps", but instead something like "How do I... Use componentWillReceiveProps to Manage React Component State".

Use componentWillReceiveProps to Manage React Component State

This title and summary read well, and give a viewer a good idea of what to expect from the lesson. People watch screencasts to solve specific problems and learn specific things, and good descriptions help them find the answers you provide.

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