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General Discussion

Michele Kempinsky
Michele Kempinsky
12,201 Points

Advice on effective learning.

So far I have been following the Front End Track. In my learning I've found it to be pretty overwhelming at times to try to remember every little detail of information. That being said, I'm now trying to focus more so on understanding concepts and why things function the way they do, vs. trying to memorize every possible tag. I've also been trying to do my own projects in the workspaces to put some of these concepts to the test. But for example, I often find myself needing to reference my notes or the MDN to find solutions to problems.

So, I guess my question is this: Is this an effective way of learning in the coding world or will I be shooting myself in the foot by not memorizing all of these details?

Thanks and any advice helps!

3 Answers

Christopher Gilbert
Christopher Gilbert
6,239 Points

No developer can memorize every tag and every detail. Even the most experienced ones will often refer to sources for guidance or reference.

I will recommend that you continue to follow along on the tracks and then stop to apply the knowledge you are getting from the videos. You can watch every video on this site but if you never apply it by practicing then you will always struggle. Make up fun projects for you to do and start from scratch. I recommend you download atom as a third party text editor. Workspaces is great for working along with the videos but I recommend a text editor for doing your own projects.

And every time you get stumped or forget something never hesistate to refer to MSDN. I also recommend checking stack overflow forums as the community is good about asking and answering questions.

So learn learn learn then practice practice practice.

Jennifer Nordell
Jennifer Nordell
Treehouse Teacher

You are not supposed to remember every little detail. That's not really the goal here. The goal is to understand the big concepts and how to apply information you gather from documentation to implement your ideas. In fact, the things you learn today will likely have changed to some degree within the next 3 years. So learning all the details would mean that you would have to relearn all the new stuff too.

In many of the courses here you will repeatedly hear the instructors say to check the documentation. Now, that being said, if you look up the documentation for something a few times chances are that you're going to learn that thing inside and out. And eventually you won't have to look it up anymore until they change something :smiley:

I think it's great that you're experimenting with your own code and projects! There's nothing quite like getting your hands dirty with your code and see if you can make something work. When you have a problem that it takes you a while to solve and you're pulling your hair out because nothing works, it feels horrible. But when you get it fixed, it's amazing. And as a bonus, I can almost guarantee you that you'll remember it for a long time to come. Learning comes with mistakes. It's how we learn. If we all did it right the first time, we'd never need to learn anything.

Hang in there! :sparkles:

Benjamin Larson
Benjamin Larson
34,055 Points

I would venture to say that it would be a misappropriation of your efforts to even attempt to memorize those details. For mere mortals like myself, I consider my own mind to be an extremely limited resource. For the most part, the proverbial hard disk space in my brain is always near capacity. If I want to save something new, I have to delete something old. So basically, every time I learn something new, I lose a little piece of my childhood.

Okay not quite, but still...I typically try to remember only as much as needed to perform a relevant Google search. If I can find the answer in about 3 seconds, it's not worth it to me to memorize it. If it's something I'm going to end up using frequently, memorization will be a natural by-product.

I would tend to focus more on the problem-solving aspects of development, rather than implementation details. What are common components of layouts? What makes sense for my specific project? How should this look on different screen sizes and devices? Answer those types of bigger questions, figure out what design patterns and features will accomplish those goals, and build up the website one component at a time. Don't learn and add new features just because they look cool, but rather determine what makes sense in the context of a given project.

In the process of learning I would say at this point it's more important that you know what CAN be done, rather than specifically how to do it. But as Christopher mentioned, both learning and practice are necessary and for the most part, there aren't any shortcuts to either. Continued exposure and experimentation will be your allies. Google will be your bff.