How Do You Learn Best?

How Do You Learn Best?

The most important and yet overlooked question every developer just starting out should answer to make their coding journey easier.

Victor Eke
Β·Aug 12, 2021Β·

7 min read

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Who is this article for?

  • For anyone trying to get into tech.
  • For seasoned developers who have junior developers under their mentorship.
  • Most importantly; you who is reading this to identify and understand your learning type and how you can improve on it.

Are you struggling to learn as a developer? If a newbie developer comes to you for tips on how to code, what is the first thing you tell them?

I believe this is one of the most overlooked yet important questions to ask any developer just getting into tech.

Why should you ask this question?

pexels-andrea-piacquadio-3777572.jpg

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

  • Because Learning to code can be very daunting and challenging especially for newbie developers, It can be really frustrating to watch a coding tutorial or read an article and not understand why you just don’t get it. You tend to forget what you learn quickly as if you can't retain the information effectively. This is where some newbie developers throw in the towel and say

    maybe this is not for me, I'm not cut out to be a developer.

  • I have listened to them talk in forums and channels on YouTube and Discord about how they finished a tutorial from X platform but they can't build a simple project. Chances are they started based on someone else's preferred way of learning. Though their intentions were pure, the result was counterproductive.

    These issues are caused by not properly understanding your learning style. Once you can answer these simple questions, you can then enhance the speed and quality of your coding abilities.

  • There are a plethora of resources; both free and paid available for anyone getting into tech now, which makes it hard to distinguish the good content while trying to look for which one suits you best. Knowing your learning type can help smoothen that process.

    Now we know the why let's find out the learning types and how they relate to us as developers.

    PS: There is no right or wrong answer to which learning style or a mix of learning styles is best for you.

VARK

There are several ways people learn, which are categorized into 4 main parts and each person falls into one of these categories. This category of learning style is called the VARK model and is the most widely accepted model of learning styles. VARK stands for:

  • Visual (spacial) learners learn best by seeing
  • Auditory (aural) learners learn best by hearing
  • Reading/writing learners learn best by reading and writing
  • Kinesthetic (physical) learners learn best by moving and doing

    Let's quickly go over these learning styles so you can continue working on that project.

1. Visual (Spacial) Learners πŸ‘οΈ

Visual learners tend to learn by what they see the most. They work with shapes, objects, or colors πŸ”΅ from videos and pictures. Visual learners tend to write clean illustrative markdowns with proper headings and highlighters and when taking notes, they tend to separate each section and organize them with visual shapes and symbols.

As a developer are you strongly aware of the different colors and highlighting of your element or code tags? Are you very particular about your text editor theme that you find it strenuous using another? Then you might just be a visual learner.

The benefit of being a visual learner is that they tend to retain a lot more information because the human brain naturally processes colors and symbols faster than written texts.

Recommended ways to learn to code for visual learners:

Here are a few (not limited to) ways visuals learners can maximize their learning style effectively.

  • βœ” YouTube videos
  • βœ” Tutorial courses from platforms like Udemy, Coursera, Skillshare, Pluralsight.
  • βœ” Interactive learning platforms like Freecodecamp. Etc.
  • βœ” Coding games like Flexbox Froggy, Grid garden, Flexbox Zombies. Etc.

2. Auditory (Aural) Learners πŸŽ™οΈ

These are learners who learn by carefully listening or paying attention in a classroom. They sometimes mutter or echo words they hear to themselves to have it ingrained in their memory. They learn by listening to both themselves and other external sources.

Auditory learners have a great advantage going to boot camps and meetups because they tend to ask questions and get answers immediately. If you are more inclined to read audiobooks or you see podcasts as a good way to learn a particular topic, then you might be an auditory learner.

Recommended ways to learn to code for auditory learners:

Here are a few (not limited to) ways auditory learners can maximize their learning style effectively.

  • βœ” Registering at a boot camp.
  • βœ” Listening to podcasts. A good one for developers is Devchat.tv
  • βœ” Recording notes and listening to them.
  • βœ” Going for a degree in computer at a college.
  • βœ” Learning with a friend or partner who can listen and give them feedback.

3. Reading/writing(linguist) Learners βœπŸ½πŸ“š

These are learners who learn best by reading and writing. They are the kind of students that struggle to understand vocal lectures or auditory methods of learning. They process more information when they take notes on what they have learned and read them out to themselves.

As developers, this kind of type understands more by reading articles, blog posts. And when faced with issues or bugs they see reading documentations like MDN, W3Schools, GitHub as their preferred option to solve their problems? They enjoy learning from platforms like Freecodecamp, Stackoverflow, etc.

Some things these students might do to intuitively help themselves learn are rewriting their notes, adding notes to pictures or diagrams, choosing to read a hard copy book over an audiobook. Do you find yourself doing the following? Then you just might be a reading/writing type.

Recommended ways to learn to code for reading/auditory learners:

  • βœ” Reading coding books.
  • βœ” Freecodecamp.
  • βœ” Stackoverflow.
  • βœ” Blog posts and articles.
  • βœ” Websites like MDN docs, Web.dev, CSStricks, W3schools. Etc.

4. Kinesthetic(physical) Learners ⛑️⛏️

The kinesthetic learner learns best by going through the motions of actually doing something. When they are actively moving their body and combining that with what they are learning, it’s much easier for them to process the information.

These learners tend to shine in demonstrations and experiments. They also learn best from seeing something firsthand, watching live videos. Etc.

I admire these types of learners because they are no-nonsense talkers. A clever quip by Linux creator - Linus Torvalds properly describe these types:

Talk is cheap, show me the code.

These types learn best with hands-on experience when working on projects rather than looking at diagrams or reading complex concepts on a doc. Since these learn types don't usually have the patience to read an extensive tutorial or article. They tend to make mistakes more frequently but this is how they learn. By learning what works and what doesn't by their mistakes they get better.

Does this sound like you? then you might be a kinesthetic learner.

Recommended ways to learn to code for Kinesthetic learners:

Other Learning types include

  • Logical learners
  • Social learners
  • Solitary learners

Final Words

Having listed all these learn styles, it is good to note that there is nothing right or wrong with any of the learning styles, and an individual can have more than one preferred way of learning which can change under different circumstances or as they progress in their career.

Are you a seasoned developer or newbie reading this, it is important to know your learn type if you plan on maximizing your abilities. Developers who are conscious about their learn type tend to learn faster because they focus on their favorite way of learning which narrows down how and where they search for solutions.

Hopefully, now you know how best you learn, try to apply that knowledge when you want to learn anything new and you will see the benefits. Here is an online VARK Survey to check your learn type. Feel free to share your results below. Are you satisfied with this result? Let me know in the comments too. Thanks for reading.

A big thanks 😎 to Oliver Jumpertz for reviewing this article. Do check him out and give him a follow.

Did you find this article useful? Please feel free to connect with me on twitter @evavic44 or support me. ❀

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