learning how to learn through a react workshop

is coding hard?

Last week was hectic. After a long time I designed a course and this time did it with a different goal. I have been reading around how we can learn better. There are books and research around this, a lot of research has been done on what are the better ways of learning something. At the same time, I see that even after doing tutorials a lot of people struggle when they actually have to code their own project. Why is programming hard? In searching for answers, I stumbled across this blog: https://www.thinkful.com/blog/why-learning-to-code-is-so-damn-hard/ and I really liked the way it has described the handholding honeymoon couple. It made me think about how my tutorials are doing the same thing. Folks who learnt JavaScript and Web Dev from the tutorials shared the same project which I made in the video, but when asked to work on 5 projects for the jobChallenge( https://jobchallenge.dev/ ) the completion rates were low. Out of the 400 people participated only 40 completed. Even from those 40 I can see that most have submitted the same project which either I did in my videos or some Udemy course did.

why am I telling you all this?

There were 1000s of YT videos and Udemy courses when I started teaching. Many folks made fun saying what will N+1 tutorial do? I always thought that if education is proper there would be a lot more success stories than the current college system is providing. However, I am constantly failing. 1000s of followers but still few success stories. Yes, some students got jobs, internships, freelance projects and what not, but this isn't happening at scale. With this entire charade of teaching online, mentoring students, and putting so much of my personal time in this, I had a goal to get folks jobs, to create more and more success stories but that's not happening.

hmm.. what next? Do I give up?

I don't think so. As an engineer when a problem gets tough, you start enjoying figuring it out even more. I am looking into the research of cognitive science, looking at my own journey of how I learn and pick up new tech in less time and then trying to come up with better ways of teaching. The culmination of all of this thinking is an experiment. The experiment of React Workshop. It's not just a tutorial to learn React, it's an experiment to check if coding lessons can be gamified.

I received this text today from someone who attended the workshop,

This particular approach is really effective and amazing Tanay. I actually spent more than 2 hours going through documentation
and debugging which cleared many of my doubts in destructuring, on props, map, filter and referring notes actually reminded me of the discussion you had with us in call.
I would definitely try this approach on more tutorial that I take and this really showed me the importance of documentation

This gives me hope. It means this is working. A large part of the success of this experiment depends on the learner as well. And I'll tell you why. It's because the thing I am asking someone to do during this workshop is hard. We are not used to learning this way, and that's another reason why we fail miserably when it comes to learning in real life.

why should this work?

If you get into the science of learning, it talks about recall, reflection, revision, interleaving, deliberate practice and many many more things which makes something you learn stay in your mind.

While designing this workshop, I had put all of this in place. So, if you do exactly how it is designed to do, you will feel that it's hard. But at the other end of the tunnel you'll come out a much better programmer than you were 5 hours back. And yes, it would take 5 hours just for the basics.

Believe it or not, programming takes time. 1 hour XYZ course will only give you false hope.

Anyway, if you decide to do this workshop. It comes with a step by step guide and a video. BTW, all of this is free.

Guide: https://react.learncodingfree.org
Video: https://youtu.be/Icr3pGbz3iE

a note about gpt-3

If you haven't heard about this yet, then maybe google it. One of the examples shows that it was readily generating React code from natural language. It's only natural that anyone learning React would be worried, and so were most of my students. I am collecting and presenting my thoughts about it live on Instagram https://instagram.com/tanaypratap at 7PM IST.

I'll write about the fear of automation and how to address it soon too. To be honest, I am least bit worried about these things, and therefore don't like talking about it. But part of your public life sometimes makes you do things which you don't want/feel like just so that people are not swayed by ads like

"AI is going to take all jobs, you should learn AI, pay $100,000 for this course.

If anything, GPT-3 is going to take away AI jobs more than anyone else. But yeah, let's talk about it in detail tomorrow.

what happened to the freelancing series?

The freelancing series will come and go every other week. I hope you are working on preparing your stack and your swiss knife. The next session comes soon. As I don't get an enormous time every week, I tend to do one thing and do it my best. This week was about how to make learning to code easier.

As always, your tweets around how you liked the newsletter are most welcome. When sharing your thoughts, it would be great if you put the link as well. You or your friends can read all issues from here https://tinyletter.com/tanaypratap/archive

Peace out! I hope you are safe and healthy, these are trying times, best thing we can do is stay home and keep coding! :)