Stop for a second and consider not just what but also how we have been learning. Einstein says it best: learning effectively is more important than memorizing knowledge.
It’s important to think about how lessons are presented while evaluating coding education materials. Is this a solution or platform designed to keep students interested and ensure their knowledge sticks? Most people will not be successful if they try to learn programming without any prior experience. An effective strategy is necessary for the daunting task of learning to code. The first step in learning to code is realizing how you will be conditioned to think.
Naturally, developing an understanding of how to train one’s mind supports continuous development and adaptability to market shifts. To thrive in today’s rapidly expanding software engineering industry, programmers need to develop their capacity for original issue solving and in-depth analysis. Merely concentrating on memorization is insufficient. It’s as the old adage goes: “Giving someone a fish will feed them for a day, but teaching them how to catch fish will nourish them for a lifetime.” Lifelong learning and assistance are essential for students’ success.
Here are 5 time-tested methods that can help you succeed in your quest to learn to code.
Metacognition is the idea that you should think about why and how you learn. Science shows that memorizing a lot of facts without thinking about patterns makes it harder to remember things.
Many elementary school curricula, especially for students who have trouble with math, include a metacognition foundation. Students who feel lost in a sea of numbers do better in math class when they focus on understanding the basic ideas instead of spending hours trying to figure out a set of problems. Some learners do well with numbers and formulas, while others do well looking for patterns between ideas. However, studies show that understanding underlying patterns can help learners be successful in the long run. This is because it’s easier to solve individual problems if you know what kind of problem you’re having.
There are many ways to use metacognition in your journey to learn to code:
- Make a plan (or syllabus) of what you’ll learn each week as you learn to code.
- Instead of looking for a single answer to a single problem, you should look hard for patterns and themes.
- Check out some online courses and programs (or those on Educative) to get a feel for the area.
- Write down what you’re thinking
- This is a great exercise if you think you learn best by seeing things.
- Use a flowchart to map out your ideas.
- Ask yourself some self-reflection questions.
- “How does this information contradict or add to what I already know?”
- “What ideas do these problems show, and why are those ideas important to me?”
- “What does this have to do with what I learned yesterday?”
It’s probably not unique to consider why and how one learns. When you were younger, you undoubtedly utilized similar tactics to prepare for exams and memorize old arithmetic formulae. Even if metacognition is not a new concept, it is essential to apply it to avoid developing poor learning habits.
Due to unstructured learning and an inability to cope with unanticipated issues, poor habits might manifest as a diminished capacity for long-term memory. Good learning habits teach you how to solve issues and think critically, which are essential life skills. It may need more time and effort, but so does anything worthwhile.
2. Divergent thinking
The dynamic nature of the software industry necessitates diverse thinking. Divergent thinking is a kind of cognition that stresses several replies to a single line of inquiry, as opposed to convergent cognition, which is satisfied with a single, factual solution. In software engineering, there is seldom a single correct approach to complete a task. Developers benefit from being agile and able to approach a problem from several angles, particularly as technology continues to progress.
While attempting to think creatively, try to concentrate on the following three parts of your thoughts:
- Fluency: The quantity of concepts
- Originality: The ratio of your quantity of original ideas to that of your peers.
- Flexibility: The amount of distinct concepts or categories that can accommodate your thoughts.
Having these questions in mind helps you develop the habit of never being content with a single answer while investigating a new subject. It seems odd at first, but after a time, your mind will naturally operate in a divergent manner. Your innovative problem-solving abilities will make you a valuable asset to any team.
3. The Learning Pit
The Learning Pit is a blueprint for learning created by teacher as well as author James Nottingham. Its goal is to turn the inevitable struggles that learners will face into a productive way to learn. This productive struggle is less of a theory about how to gain knowledge and more of a plan for how to learn based on turning struggles into steps.
The goal is to set up a way for students to feel like they did well after working hard. This will help them remember what they learned and give them more confidence for the next concept. Putting learners in the pit gives them the chance to learn how to learn, even if they have trouble at first.
It can be hard to learn how to code. Whether you are learning the difference between arrays and linked lists or how to train machine learning models, you will face many challenges.
But we know that it’s better to face these problems head-on than to let them stop you from reaching your goal. No matter where we are in our learning journey, the Learning Pit framework gives us the tools to move forward.
The Learning Pit progresses in four stages:
- 1. Concept:
- The overall goal of learning is given to the learner.
- At this point, the student knows just enough about the goal to get by.
- 2. Conflict:
- Here, the student enters the “learning pit” and suffers cognitive struggle (two or more ideas that are true but in conflict with one another)
- The tension between the known and the unknown motivates pupils to confront, question, and wonder.
- Overcoming cognitive conflict lays the groundwork for a “growth mindset,” which is seeing obstacles and errors as a springboard rather than an impediment.
- 3. Construct:
- This is where links between the known and unknown are starting to be uncovered.
- Learners must use several modes of thought, such as testing, evaluating, summarizing, interpreting, and confirming, among others.
- A painful “conflict” stage leads to a feeling of victorious achievement.
- “Eureka!” level of the learning pit
- 4. Consider:
- This phase focuses on a reflective examination of the learning process.
- Reflection generates fresh insights into which facets of the learning process were effective and how they may be repeated.
Therefore, when you experience obstacles when learning to code, this approach will teach your mind to accept them. Remember that you are now in the second stage of the Learning Pit, and it is only a matter of time until “Eureka!” is reached. It all boils down to training your mind to think and learn more efficiently while also developing resilience.
4. Hands-on learning
Experiential learning is an effective method for acquiring any new ability. Most educators think that direct experience with a subject is a crucial aspect of the learning process. Multiple senses increase the likelihood that information will be maintained in the long-term memory. It is considerably more probable that a student will retain material from a lecture if he or she actively participates in the exercises than than simply listening. In addition to preventing external distractions, activity while learning helps to occupy one’s whole attention.
The material’s physical link will implant itself in your mind, making it virtually hard to replace it with fresh knowledge. Without the link to the actual world, it is far more probable that this new thought will be lost amid incoming and current knowledge. Learning is a never-ending process, thus it is essential to build as many links to each idea as possible to prevent them from being forgotten.
For instance, anybody can access GitHub, download one of the several public repositories, and play with code to discover how it functions and alter its behavior. It is a free method to get a learning sandbox, similar to the interactive sandboxes in our courses and pathways. It may seem apparent, yet nobody learns anything without first attempting and failing. Every evening, while doing their assignments, university students practice coding. You do not need to pay for a computer science degree to have access to the necessary practice. Sandboxes, guided projects, and quizzes are all readily available coding journey aids provided by credible learning sites. In the same way that the finest baseball players in the world continue to train with a tee, the best developers maintain their talents by practicing important topics.
5. Peer learning
If you are primarily an active listener or just like the social atmosphere of learning, forming a study group is a terrific idea. Individuals taking up the challenge of learning to code may still interact and speak with other students in a number of ways. An enormous benefit of taking computer science classes at a university is not always the quality of the education, but rather the continual availability to peers.
Nevertheless, going alone is quite acceptable. You must choose what will work best for you. If you are studying alone and feel the urge to discuss your thoughts with others, there are several opportunities to do so. Similarly to how literary notions may be taught via arguments and discussion, development concepts can also be taught this way.
An excellent way to locate a study group is to connect electronically using Discord servers or a video conversation with a study partner. Don’t panic if you can’t locate someone to converse with quickly. Reading and responding questions aloud to oneself may seem foolish, but it may be an effective approach for an auditory learner to remember knowledge. It is identical to a visual learner writing down their ideas or revising their notes using symbols and images. It may sound a little absurd, but if it works, it works — and research confirms that it does!
Identifying the optimal educational resource
These methods of study are as simple as they come, yet they have a track record of success. It is essential to begin your study with a well-thought-out plan. The key is picking resources that are both useful and interesting for the pupils. It is up to you and your preferences to choose the best way to study, but we hope that these tried-and-true techniques will give you a head start.