When you’re learning to code, there’s often loads of other things that get in the way — from day jobs to hobbies. So once you’ve managed to carve out some coding space, it’s important to make the most of the (sometimes) limited time you have to learn. So today I want to share some of my favorite ways to learn effectively, and how you can make progress with your studies.
1. Figure Out Your Style
We all like to learn in different ways. Some prefer reading about a topic, some watching a video or listening to a podcast, while others learn by doing. To identify what type of learner you are and which method suits you best, why not take a learning style quiz? Pinning down whether you’re a visual, aural, or spatial learner will give you a better understanding of how to organize yourself and which tools best suit you.
2. Find the Right Time
Are you an early bird or a night owl? Some of us thrive first thing in the morning, while others need a few hours to get going and prefer working into the night. Scheduling your study sessions when your brain is at its best will go a long way to helping you make the most of your learning time.
3. Look After Your Health
It’s hard to concentrate if you’re not in top form. So eat well, get enough sleep, drink plenty of water, take regular breaks, and do a little bit of exercise to make sure you’re fueled up for the challenge of learning a new skill.
4. Set Up Your Learning Space
An uncomfortable chair, poor lighting, and a messy desk can distract you — and if you’re distracted, you’re probably not learning properly! Make your study space the perfect place to learn. How? Make sure everything is comfortable, well lit, and organized. A daylight lamp is perfect for brightening dark rooms, adding a plant can inject life, or even something as simple as colorful stationery can make learning easier.
5. Choose Your Background Music Carefully
Advice on whether music helps learning or not is rather conflicted. Some studies have found it helps, while others find that background noise is an unwelcome distraction — it’s very much like learning in that everyone has different preferences. But if you do find that listening to music helps, the genre is an important consideration. For instance, instrumental music, such as classical, has been found to be more helpful than music with vocals. So make your choice carefully, and try out Mozart over Madonna to see if your study sessions are more productive.
6. Challenge Yourself
Taking a quiz or getting involved in a coding challenge are both great ways to test the coding concepts you’ve just learned, to make sure you really grasped the material and what they actually mean. And not only are you reinforcing the skills you just learned, it gives you the opportunity to flex those problem-solving skills!
7. Teach Someone Else
Not only does being able to summarize what you’ve just learned in your own words help you understand coding concepts, it also helps them stick in your brain, making you more likely to remember them in the future. So grab your other half, a friend, or your cat and share all of your newfound knowledge with them!
These are just a list of my favorite ways to make sure I’m learning effectively — what matters is that you try them out for yourself and find what works for you and your learning journey.