Wern Ancheta

Adventures in Web Development.

Learning and How I Did It Wrong

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In this blog post I’m going to share some of the mistakes that I did while trying to learn something. Looking at the list below you might say that these are all nice things to do while trying to learn something. But I’m going to try explaining below why these kinds of activities are not always good for learning.

  • Watching video tutorials
  • Reading Books
  • Learning something that I cannot immediately apply
  • Taking up online learning classes

Watching video tutorials

Video tutorials are a fast and easy way to learn something. Its not like the classroom setting wherein you have to listen carefully and take note of every important thing that the teacher says so you will have something to review later on for the exams. Video tutorials are different in the sense that you can skip to a part where you’re specifically interested in or repeat viewing the video any time you want. So you basically keep watching the video tutorial until you finally grok everything that’s mentioned in there. You would also try to code up the program that was thought in the video tutorial yourself.

There’s actually no problem with this method of learning. We learn faster by doing this but sometimes we often forget the real reason why were doing it and that is to learn. Sometimes we get too caught up in watching all the videos in that tutorial series and we tend to make the process of learning faster by just going through all the videos without even trying for yourself what you’ve learned and applying the things that you’ve learned on a project.

This is exactly what happened when I started watching the tutorials over at thenewboston. The guy there really knows how to make things easier to understand by making use of different real world scenarios or analogies. His videos were simply addictive and before I knew it I already watched several of his tutorials on Python and Python game development, Java, PHP, and JavaScript. I also tried learning Ruby on Rails and a bunch of other programming related stuff but none of those ever stick into my mind because I wasn’t applying everything that I’ve learned. I was simply watching the videos, tried to code it by myself on notepad++ and then call it a day.

Reading Books

Books are also a great way to learn especially e-books. You can basically skip through the things that interest you the most in that book. Sometimes there are also exercises to help you further understand what you’ve learned. But books are often lengthy(400 pages or more) and its easy to lose motivation when reading a book. But that’s the mistake in that. Books which has 400 pages or more aren’t meant to be read from cover to cover. They’re meant as a reference or a guide in your learning.

Learning something that I cannot immediately apply

There are lots of things that I want to learn, there are lots of interesting articles about programming and web development that I want to read, there are lots of tools that are coming out that I want to use. There’s just too much that I want to learn but only a few of them can be immediately applied to the things that I’m currently doing (E.g. my day job). These are the things that truly hinders learning the things that are really needed. It’s only a matter of discipline but its really hard to fight the temptations in learning something that’s hot and new.

Taking up online learning classes

Taking up online classes like the one’s found at codeacademy, codeschool and udacity are also a great way to learn but they’re also susceptible by some of the things that I’ve already mentioned above (E.g. temptation in learning something that is not immediately needed, the focus lies on somewhere else rather than learning and become better).

This post is not meant to criticize online learning classes, books and video tutorials. We all agree that these are all very good way to learn something. What I’m saying is that its so easy to lead yourself in the wrong direction if you don’t know how to make use of these learning resources responsibly. We must all remember that life is continuous learning process. It doesn’t mean that the learning stops when you’ve watched all the videos in the Laravel Course or Regular Expressions Course or JavaScript course. Often times you’ve only learned the basics after taking up these kinds of courses. But the important thing is that you already know much that you can already level up your skills further with your own hands without relying on a guide or a course.