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Learning how to learn

Learning how to learn

As developers, we are constantly faced with new things to learn. New versions of languages, new tooling, new best practices, and so on. How do you cope with it all? In this talk, I'll get a bit meta and talk about learning how to learn. We like our code to be efficient, so why shouldn't our learning be efficient as well?

Joel Clermont

March 02, 2013

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  1. Shameless Self-Promotion • Programming since 1982 • Lifelong independent learner

    • PHP, C# and Ruby • Milwaukee PHP user group Monday, March 4, 13
  2. You want to learn • Time marches on • Constant

    learning is essential Monday, March 4, 13
  3. How much can you learn in . . . 30

    - 45 minutes? Monday, March 4, 13
  4. How much can you learn in . . . 30

    - 45 minutes? a half-day workshop? Monday, March 4, 13
  5. Sheep dip • One size fits all • Alien environment

    • Short-term benefit Monday, March 4, 13
  6. Plutarch The mind is not a vessel to be filled,

    but a fire to be kindled Monday, March 4, 13
  7. Why is this useful? • Humans are excellent mimics •

    Driver can be in L-mode, navigator in R-mode • Study of children solving problems with gears [1] [1] Daniel L. Schwartz. The emergence of abstract representations in dyad problem solving. Journal of the Learning Sciences, (4):321-354, 19 Monday, March 4, 13
  8. Take notes • Use a mind map • Draw it

    by hand (no fancy computer tool) • Revise and reorganize it Monday, March 4, 13
  9. Leverage your brain’s wiring • Forcing yourself to recall a

    fact makes it more permanent • Every read is a write • New connections and relationships are formed • Spaced interval best Monday, March 4, 13
  10. Brains don’t like stress • Being happy makes you a

    better learner [1] • The opposite is also true • Belief affects reality [2] • Researchers taught a blind man to see with his tongue [3] [1] A Neuropsychological Theory of Positive Affect and Its Influence on Cognition [2] Mindset: The New Psychology of Success [3] The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science Monday, March 4, 13
  11. Involve all your senses • Why’s book has a soundtrack

    • “Use of LSD for Computer Programming” • Build to learn, don’t learn to build • Logo Monday, March 4, 13
  12. Another way of saying the brain dislikes stress • A

    looming deadline is bad for cognition • Trust me, you do not thrive under pressure [1] • Relaxed, but concentrated focus • Avoid multitasking. You can’t do it anyways. [1] Bill Breen. The 6 myths of creativity. Monday, March 4, 13
  13. Additional Resources • Leon Gersing’s talk at Madison Ruby 2012

    http://confreaks.com/videos/1104-madisonruby2012-gonzo-exploration-of- culture-innovation-and-the-weird-in-software • Why’s Poignant Guide to Ruby http://mislav.uniqpath.com/poignant-guide/ • http://www.supermemo.com • Ask me questions on Twitter @jclermont Monday, March 4, 13