Hands-on learning

Published on: Friday 12/01/2017

Author: Kelly-Ann
Project blog

Happy December! Only 13 more days in France . . .

I've been thinking a lot about my learning process recently. I attended a workshop once about working on teams. The workshop runner had us take a personality test, and then based on that test, had us simulate how long each type of person would take to go through four different phases of a problem solving process.

The stages were something like:

1) Think about the problem

2) Start brainstorming solutions

3) Start trying out the solutions to see if they work

4) Choose and implement the best solution

It turns out, the group I was in liked to jump pretty quickly through phase 1 and 2, to spend a lot of time in phase 3. The point of the exercise was to show that while some of us were already in phase 3, some other people on our team might still be processing thinking about the problem in phase 1.

Now, if you are a person who really likes to think through a problem before jumping in, my style of jumping right in might seem like it wastes time. And it can, if not approached correctly.

The thing is, jumping into a problem is how I think about it. I can't wrap my head around the stumbling blocks until I run into them.

So of course, the wrong approach is to try and jump in solving a problem in real time, in the final setting. The right approach (which is especially possible in programming), is to understand pieces of the problem by working on them in quick and simple example. I've found codepen to be especially useful for this.

The challenge for me is to remember to actually do these small, stand-alone tests, rather than implementing something I don't understand in my larger project!

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