Managing your documents for language learning

I started writing this article for LinkedIn, but then though how much information a language learner usually saves - scanned books, homework tasks, URL links and so on. So I thought that this article would also be helpful for you, the Finnish language learner. Enjoy!

My hobbies are so closely connected with lots of information – submitting photo portfolios to myamazing friends, updating the settings for MailChimp websites for my #startyourFinnish blog and trying to learn GitHub on that lucky weekends when I find myself at workshops for beginners in programming. All this includes tricky tasks – ensuring that both parties operate the same version of the document, ensuring that all photos are backed up and that the marketing newsletter is sent to all the recipients. Quite close to my professional challenges in balancing work, study and life!

I think, that exactly when I started programming, I clarified basic rules of operating documents:

1.       Back-up. One back-up in Cloud may not be enough – account can be closed, subscription may expire or something else or you may delete a “not needed folder” in a hurry to get space for downloading new files. Ensure you have offline copy in a file which name contains the date and time when back-up was made.

2.       Version control. You may want to access the same document from multiple devices, but what if synchronization failed on first device (and you did not notice your notification sent by OneDrive) and you are actually editing an old version? Even with such software as WorkshareCompare, merging two version in one can be a time-consuming process. With most important documents (such as my thesis), I sent the version to myself in an e-mail writing down the date of last back-up  - sometimes it may be more reliable than relying on automatic cloud back-up.

3.       Access. Once you create a shareable GoogleDrive link, your document may be read by anyone who gets the link. Especially if you by mistake provide the higher access rights (e.g. sharing all folder instead of needed sub-folder). You even grant edit rights by mistake – take care of it, both at work and when working on personal portfolios!

4.       Explain. Before I started started learning programming, I thought about programming as a form of something suprahuman, but the best programming code is one that is easily understandable by another programmer, even by a beginner. Same with document storage – when you share your documents to your SharePoint, feel free to use a comment field for yourself and other colleagues to record the reasons why you have saved certain folder and what it contains. Mark down why you saved a certain material - maybe the grammar rule explanation is good or it is featuring useful vocabuilary?

5.     Go mobile. Once you have your learning materials accessible, for example, from OneDrive mobile app, you will have less excuses to skip language learning session due to a lack of time. Just get your smartphone out of pocket and open the document you need from the Cloud!

Once you grasp them, just google the keywords (e.g. version control) and learn more what is needed for your effective language learning!