Learning strategy

Everybody should have their learning strategy.

I am just assuming that everybody should continuously learn.


Because if you do you'll have a richer and fulfilled life.

To be honest I think that this is one of the points in which I have to improve.

This is how, most of the time, I deal with things that I need to know but I don't know yet:

  1. Google it
  2. Find the first page that tell you what you need, usually on Stackoverflow, Quora, Wikipedia, blogs, ...
  3. Make use of the information, that often means just a copy and paste

That is basically the main learning strategy that I used in the last few years.

I don't know how to remove a commit in Git?
I don't how to generate a ssh key?
I don't know how to run a Docker image (even if I barely know what Docker is)?

Google it! Google it! Google it!

This is probably not even a learning strategy, as I do not learn anything in this way.
It does not work mainly because the brain does not retain what you quickly read on online.

It is not so easy.

If you are like me, you find yourself continuously looking for response about a certain topic, making the process slow and quite tiring.

I am not saying that Stackoverflow is bad, I love it and use it a lot, but if you often use it for the same topic, it simply means that you don't know the topic, or at least not enough.

To break this behaviour you have to:

  • Understand the topic. You need to spend time to study and understand the concepts and the jargon, and what is their meaning
  • memorise the most common scenarios and used options

To understand the topic I like to read books, especially the real, physical ones. I spend most of my time working in front of my laptop, so reading on paper is something that makes me feel good and I like that I can easily highlight using a pencil.

I also follow online courses. Reading is great, but it is more effective to involve your brain with audio and video.
I am following courses on Udemy, Khan accademy and Codeschool.

Courses are especially important if you are approaching a new topic, you'll learn how to pronunce the new words and in which context, and if you are not native English that's another good chance to practice your listening skills.

Understanding new concepts not necessarily means that you are able to recall them easily.

To memorise important concepts and information I often use the app Anki. The first of this kind of program was Supermemo, that is still very popular.

Anki is a spaced repetition flashcard program, in a few words it shows you a flashcard just before you are about to forget it.

At first using Anki seems to be very time consuming, you have to create many flashcards with the concepts you want to memorize, but in the long term I found it very rewarding.

There is lot's more to say about how to learn new things, this is just the way I currently do. I hope that can help you.

Alessandro DS

Hi, I am Sw Developer working in London, passionate about start ups and working on agile environment. I am also (happy) daddy of a little boy and girl.