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General Discussion

Marston Gould
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Marston Gould
PHP Development Techdegree Student 17,314 Points

Extended offering suggestions

As I've progressed in watching several videos, I have discovered that its challenging to remember what I have learned over time. While I get that you shouldn't try to remember everything because there are great resources both on Treehouse, W3C and other sites that can act as references, I do believe that the goal of these classes should be to put someone on the path to mastery. With that said - I have two suggestions.

First - I believe that students should have a note pad that they can take notes in while they are listening to to the videos. The act of writing (or typing) something as you hear it helps to reinforce what you've learned. I've tried using Evernote for this, but it would be so much better if it was incorporated into the process.

Second - When a student has completed a section, one of the rewards, other than points and badges, would be to have access to a quick reference card for the section they have completed - something like a "SparkNotes". Each student would have their own unique collection of these based on the sections and courses they have completed.

Third - Similar to the challenges that are available, I believe that mastery is really only accomplished by practice. Given that, I think it would be useful if there were at the end of major section an exercise that encompasses all of the items that have been taught. What I would envision is that summary above would be available and then given that resource, a project of some time would be provided. Since there are many ways of accomplishing a goal in practice, the exercise would need to be evaluated by someone to demonstrate the student has learned the content. This could be accomplished using some type of social contract. Other students whom have reached a level of expertise would be certified in different topics and could provide their feedback on the students efforts. In return, the reviewer could earn points, badges and perhaps something above badges -status levels. These status levels would help identify individuals as experts in particular topic areas which in turn could help them when seeking project work or employment.

3 Answers

Hi Marston, this is really just a part of learning to code. You need to do different things and keep repeating certain tasks until it becomes habit or second nature. I came across something a while back that claims to speed up this process. It was coined Janki Method if you're interested.

Anyhow, different things work for different people. Stick in there and your progress will encourage you to keep learning.

Marston Gould
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Marston Gould
PHP Development Techdegree Student 17,314 Points

Hi Dustin - and thanks for the link. I'd forgotten about the Janki Method, but I have seen it before ; ).

I believe that one of the problem identifications is spot on to the suggestions I was making: that students will be more successful if they have opportunity to directly apply what they have learned.

Unfortunately, I suspect that many of the individuals on Treehouse and other similar resources do not have said opportunity. They are actually making use of these resources to learn skills in an area that is fresh and new to them. If someone is a job changer, they won't have projects that will test their newly developed skills nor will the really be ready, in many cases to even take on those kinds of projects were they to find them. They need to walk before they can run. I've programmed before albeit a long time ago. So most of these concepts aren't new to me, but the semantics are. I suspect for other students, the concepts could be down right challenging which is why I made the suggestions I did.

Learning to code is not quite like some other forms of education. As an example, I'm also taking classes over at Creativelive.com. They have a somewhat similar approach to Treehouse however they cover very different topics. In my case, I'm taking classes on advanced DSLRs. Within many courses they ask students to attempt specific projects w/o providing structured guidance on how to accomplish the goals. With camera in hand, it is much easier to try to accomplish a particular effect in photography than it is to try and accomplish some project within coding that is undefined for students.

My suggestions were simply a few ideas where I tried to articulate how this might be included into the Treehouse offering. There are probably other ways to accomplish this too.

When I was taking the HTML and CSS courses, I mostly just watched the videos and did all the exams and challenges as I had taken a web design course in 2013 featuring HTML5 and CSS3 where we had to create some pages and use different HTML and CSS elements on the fictitious site we created. Treehouse has its strengths and limitations as taking courses traditionally does.