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How do you learn?

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  • User profile image
    lethalbyte

    I guess everyone has their own technique for learning.  Some read books cover to cover, some skim through articles, some try something then research problems they get it an ad hoc way.

    I tend to go for the last one, try something, then research my problems.  The issue I have with that is I suffer from the 'I don't know what I don't know'.  So I'm interested in how other people learn in a more structured way.

    Cheers

  • User profile image
    Dr Herbie

    I am big on books (in fact since Amazon introduced one-click ordering I have to be careful when I go there).

    I generally read the first third or half of a book in great detail to get the basics.  When I get to the detailed stuff, I generally skim it.

    My philosophy:  No can know everything.  It's better to get a broad, shallow knowledge of the technologies.  Then, when you have a problem to solve, you'll know which technologies or techniques to investigate to find a good solution.

    For example; I know what XSLT is capable of, but I don't know the syntax.  This is because I have only used it twice, so it's not worth the investment to learn it. If you need the syntax details you can look in a book or on the web.


    On the down side, this approach doesn't go down well in job interviews (in my experience, at least).  I had one interview (for a senior C# position) where I was asked to write (on paper) a complete XSLT transformation from the top of my head.  They didn't actually ask me about C# which was a bit weird.

    Many interviewers expect you to have detailed knowledge of the specific technologies they want. They want people who have memorised the details. They don't generally seem interested in recruiting smart people who can cope with any technology by using their brains to figure thing out and learn on the job.

    It's kind of a similar problem with Microsoft certification: the exams seem to expect you to know all the details for all the technologies.  This is fine if you are writing all your code in notepad, but VS has Intellisense so I never bother memorising details because I'll recognise the object/method/property name when I see it in the dropdown list.  I spend my time learning about higher level techniques like architecture and design patterns because by the time I've learned all the ASP.NET details, ASP.NET v2 changes them.

    Rant over.

    Herbie



  • User profile image
    Manip

    I can't just sit down and read a large book front to back cover so I use things like video lectures, and practical experiments. I also like to read tutorials/articles from the web -- particularly those in relation to code security.

  • User profile image
    erik_

    I mostly read books. They mostly have a bigger coverage then an single article or tutorial and I am too lazy too look for articles/tutorials too covering every subject.

    And I mostly try out the stuff out of the book in pratice if possible. Either by writing down or testing out something I mostly am able to remember it better, you have a sort of emotion to it. And for some reason it is better to remember it that way because you done it or smt.

    As long as you know where, what, why, how to find a book or article too solve the problem you should be doing ok. If you learn everything about each subject the knowledge you have will be pretty soon be outdated. Or you must drink coffee 24/7 and have and implemented usb port for information transfer in your neck.


    (little off-topic) but:
    I am atm reading a book for school about Knowledge management and that book talks about the following (If I translated it correctly):

    They performed a test of professionals working at knowledge intensive corporations which gave the following result:

    85% belongs to routine based professional
    15% belongs to innovative based professional

    Where the routine based professional used knowledge to do a routine task. Like a docter does, he looks at your problem and says ok by doing a diagnose of the problems you are close to a person with this illness. 
     
    The professional knowledge of this group will loose relevance/value of the material learned during college within 5 years now-a-days, because of the fastly going technology. But he can keep his knowledge updated by learning from a master/innovative based professional.

    The other 15%, will use knowledge to try to figure out how to solve a problem each time on a different or better way. This is the part of the people that keeps there knowledge relevant or updated about a special subject.

    In the case of the doctor example this means he will cut open each patient and looks around for a bad thing and thinks of a (new) way of how to solve it.

    So you don't want everyone employee to be a innovative based professional, because that is just not productive enough. If your employees know to which master/innovative employee they need to get a consult and get the latest information your knowledge intensive company works way better. So learning everything about a subject doesn't always mean you have the most value for a company. It just depends on what they need. (Well at least if I understand the book correctly until now).

  • User profile image
    Devils​Rejection

    google lets me do something amazing.

    just type in a search term such as "Kerbs Cycle" and then add "filetype:ppt" to that.

    Google goes out and searches all the powerpoints it has indexed on the subject and returns them to me.

    Sometimes the powerpoints are made by professors, others they are made by students, but you watch 3-5 power point shows on the same topic and it will stick.

  • User profile image
    Karim

    DevilsRejection wrote:
    google lets me do something amazing.

    just type in a search term such as "Kerbs Cycle" and then add "filetypept" to that.


    I agree -- Google will even ask you, "Did you mean Krebs Cycle?"  LOL

  • User profile image
    Devils​Rejection

    yea you wonder why i am doing so bad in bio lawl

  • User profile image
    MicroMoth

    I try to read these large IT books on the train, but I usually fall asleep. Ideally I try to think of small size projects I can work on. Then look up something when I come across a problem.

  • User profile image
    blowdart

    Karim wrote:


    I agree -- Google will even ask you, "Did you mean Krebs Cycle?"  LOL


    The worrying thing about that example is I remember every step of the Krebs cycle which I learnt for my O-levels (UK exams you sat at 16), because of a very very rude mnemonic.

  • User profile image
    Karim

    ...which was? Big Smile

  • User profile image
    blowdart

    Karim wrote:
    ...which was?


    Actually it's not that bad, considering, but at 16, in Ireland it was.

    Carol Keating sucks Fred's Male Organ.

    Carol Keating was a TV presenter at the time, and the first letter of each word was enough to trigger the right molecule name.

    Of course now I find out we only learnt a simple version.

  • User profile image
    Karim

    blowdart wrote:
    Karim wrote: ...which was?
    Carol Keating sucks Fred's Male Organ.


    LOL

    Sounds like it could also be a way to remember the estrus cycle...

    On the "how do you learn" topic, because the way the brain works, I think that you remember things better if they have emotional content, hence I think "naughty" mnemonics are more likely to be remembered than clean, sterile ones...

  • User profile image
    jmsma2005

    The most efficient way for me is to read source code.

    James

     

  • User profile image
    DoomBringer

    I learn through the power of cheese.

    And neural networks.

    But mostly cheese.

    In all seriousness, I usually read a book chapter by chapter in order, skipping over whatever I already know.  Computer languages just come to me, its a great ability.  Don't worry about knowing specific languages, just learn the ideas behind them.  The languages are just implementations of the various ideas of scope, paradigm (OO, functional, etc), reference vs value types, etc.

  • User profile image
    AndyC

    I tend to sleep with a book under the pillow and hope that concepts seep though via osmosis. So far it's working.

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