Using the Internet to learn Everything


Using the Internet to learn Everything

Teaching yourself using on-line resources can be a daunting prospect. “What’s good?” “What’s bad?” and “Where do I get the time to learn all this?” are all relevant questions. You don’t know you want to alphabetise your favourite cats until you know you have something important to do. Procrastination is the mind’s favourite hobby. Well fear not, over the coming weeks we’ll be creating a series of blog post all about using the internet to learn, just about everything. We’ll cover al the best resources and also pass on tips and tricks we’ve discovered over our time with self directed learning.

We won’t just cover the resources but also those tips and tricks we’ve discovered over last few years. The biggest takeaway is that 20 minutes a day is all that’s needed when learning something new. Don’t focus on the goal, focus on the system. Supplement that with some excellent workshops and you’ll be sorted.

Personally, I’m a big fan of having mini projects in mind when learning to code, for example. Like building a simple “form and response”, creating a basic “todo” or putting together a simple clone of a basic site feature I found.

This post is going to contain a mix of different materials I’ve found on various sites, for free. No one piece of content covers everything on its own but I’ve built up a through list of resources that I feel progresses smoothly in order of difficulty. My main recommendation though is that you should type everything and try to experiment with the examples they give you.

For any of the video-based courses, type the code as they go along, pause the video if necessary and skip back to get all the code presented. All of the video courses allow you to download the code shown but avoid this at all costs. Watching videos and without writing code gives you a false sense of learning. The only place where it would acceptable to copy the code would be if there is a generic data dump of highly repeated information, but those examples are very rare.

Resist the temptation to be lazy, write everything and even change it slightly since experimentation can lead to discovery and discovery will lead to understanding.

Some of the tasks set may be easy for coders with some experience, if that’s the case simply breeze through them and you’ll come to the level appropriate for you eventually. The tasks for beginners can be a useful refresher, underlining your fundamental skills and there is always a degree of repetition with any form of learning.

For any books or written materials, I would create very small low-level projects to use and experiment with while learning.

I’ve tried to mix and match different sources of the same idea so you can get well-rounded coverage of varying concepts, it’s usually much better to learn regularly rather than all in one big chunk. I personally use the tool beeminder to keep track of my progress, but an old fashioned calendar with your twenty minute sessions marked down keeps track just as easily. The key is to get those sweet daily streaks going and getting that little dopamine hit from finishing another twenty minutes.
Finally, I recommend taking old school pen and paper notes along with drawing out your ideas from time to time. Try to find different connections of these ideas in work you’ve come across or ideas in the real world.

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