Hands-on learning, get dirty


What is easier? Going to the gym or working out at home? Although not having to leave the house is more convenient, going to the gym feels and is easier. You just have to take your keys and get through the door to lift off the burden.

I feel similarly towards courses. For me, courses that consist of merely lectures and a final exam are courses that are just begging me to fail them. Pure self-study is my kryptonite. I have always found it way easier to work with a hands-on, trial-and-error approach in workgroups.

I love the form of learning where you are lead through the challenge. First by getting acquainted with the problem and the tools with whom you are able to make an attempt solving it, and receiving feedback afterwards. One example of this kind of learning was last week’s assignment for programming. It was about learning about interfaces in Java, and we did that by coding a simple game from scratch. The games themselves, ’Connect 4’ and ’Tic Tac Toe’, are simple, but the process of coding is hard. However, by giving us the tools to solve the problem rather than its solution, we were challenged but ultimately we learned more.

Whether it is learning about coding the game ‘Connect 4’ from scratch, learning about interaction and design by building your own website, creating your own robot with lego, or a visualization of the Brain — learning by doing is the key to not only solve known problems, but also solve new problems. And even though it is a challenge, the tools and the feedback help you absorb a lot while also coming up with a product you can show to your mom.

I would take that over sheer self-study any day.

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