I Think I Missed the Point the First Time Through Web Development Courses

I love playing video games, board games, card games, etc.  I just love the structure of games and how after accomplishing the set out objectives, you are declared winner or have won the game.  The idea is simple.

Unfortunately, life isn’t always like this.  Especially when it comes to learning.  If you have completed a course over something, that doesn’t mean you know everything there is to know about that subject completely, or that you are even competent in that area.  You have completed a course, no more and no less.  It just means that you can complete a course about the given topic.

This kinda explains where I feel like I am in web development.  I have been through the HTML, CSS, and JavaScript courses on Codecademy, and I have been through the full Front End Web Developer track on Team Treehouse.  The Team Treehouse track was composed of HTML, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, Ajax, Git, Ruby, and Sass.  So I have completed these courses, so I should know everything about them right?  This is totally incorrect, and it has to do everything with how I went about going through the courses.

I treated the courses like a game.  I saw the badge numbers or achievement points go up each time I completed an exercise, or watched a video, or finished a course.  This fueled the fire for more points and badges.  While that is not a terribly bad thing, I was missing the point of going through the material:  actually doing projects using what I had learned.  I was only possessing a low levels of knowledge.    In Bloom’s Taxonomy, there are three levels of understanding.

  1. Knowledge (remember)
  2. Comprehension (understand)
  3. Application (apply)

I think I was possessing the first two levels but not the third.  I was becoming more focused the the accruing of points as opposed to taking my time and using and testing the things I had learned.  This is where true learning takes place.

So what am I doing about it?  Well, I went through the first part of the AngularJS course on Code School, and made a color creator using sliders.  I went through the first part then made the project.  I ended up learning more things through the project than I could have through the videos.  Why?  Because I ran into issues and had to solve them using resources.  Sure I didn’t solve the problem exactly like I wanted (I think due to the level of knowledge I have on Angular), but a solution was found.  I ended up doing things differently than I thought I would.

This is the best way to learn (especially web development).  You should go through and learn about some things, but then step away and try to employ what you have learned on your way in a different way doing something totally different.  This allows you to become closer to what you are doing, as you will run into problems and have to find solutions for them.

I am going back through JavaScript again. I will say that I have retained more of the basics than I thought I would, but still have forgotten plenty (like switch statements for a specific example).  I think I need to find or think of some projects I can do using low level JavaScript commands.   I think this may help me understand some things like functions, objects, and prototypes better.

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