In the previous post, we discussed how to be actively engaged when working through a coding tutorial. In this final installment, we will talk about how to solidify your knowledge by applying what you learn.
We will discuss two ways to apply your learning:
- Using the skills in a project
- Teaching the skills to others
From personal experience, I can say that the tips in this post have been the most helpful in my development career.
Apply the Skills to a Project
As you learn new skills in a tutorial, think about how you can apply them to a project of your own. I used this approach recently to quickly learn a new code framework for a project at work. In this case, I had all the project requirements, so I knew what I needed to build for work. As I finished each lesson or video tutorial for the framework, I applied the skills to building a piece of the work project. I had a much better grasp on the material after I actually used it for myself on a project.
This approach also helped my productivity. Rather than waiting until I finished an entire video course or series of long tutorials, I could start making progress on the work project quickly. In projects with a deadline, or where you have a paying client who wants to see results, this approach really pays off. For my job, it was also a good way to get feedback from the rest of the team at regular checkpoints. Because I could actually show something off each week, we could spot mistakes and make corrections quickly. Within a month, I was able to make significant progress on building the project.
If you don’t have your own project idea, think about how you could apply the skills to a feature in your favorite game or software. For example, I mentioned in a previous post that I have been learning the GDevelop game engine. After learning about GDevelop behaviors, I applied that information to a common feature in Japanese RPG type games. I built a quick project to implement a turn-style enemy battle script in GDevelop, which you can see here. I learned a lot, in large part because I had fun on a project that was meaningful to me.
Teach the Skills to Others
One of the best ways to solidify your skills is to teach them to someone else. It forces you to organize the information into a logical order, and to cover all the details. You have to anticipate the questions that your fellow students may have. Your preparation will help you learn the material yourself even better.
You can teach someone at work, on a project that you’re working on, in your class, or in many other settings as well.
I’ve written more about this tip in my book on programming study tips, if you’d like to know more.
So this concludes the series on how to learn from a coding or development tutorial. I hope that has been helpful. In case you missed them, here are the other posts in this series:
If you’d like more tips on learning computer science and coding, here are some additional resources: