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Videos? Yes You Can!

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I've somewhat changed my opinion about the possibility of learning from videos. I've recently taken a few courses by Udemy and PluralSight. They were excellent and presented by experienced and thorough teachers. By thorough I mean that a couple were a sequence of 250+ lectures (videos) stretching over 30+ hours. (Note that these were very broad tutorials and it wasn't necessary for me to complete all of the lectures. Most courses are of a more reasonable length. 5 or 6 hours in total is probably a more typical measure for a significant topic.)

They guided you through the installation of software, encouraged you to type code, advised when it would be appropriate to pause and go back through sections. They generally provide course materials and links to other resources including reference to the occasional book.

With such professional material then, yes, it is possible to learn to program, or learn a programming framework or library, through video courses. But. You still have to type the code, explore it, and understand it before moving forward. Go back through things you didn't fully understand, and repeat sections if necessary, or to reinforce your understanding.

I remain a bookist though, and encourage supplementing the videos with reading material, even if the teacher doesn't recommend anything specific.

What you cannot do, and I will continue to discourage, is to find some suspect video on youtube by an unknown person and hope to sit passively through it, somehow magically absorbing all the programming knowledge. Programming is not a passive activity.

There are good videos on youtube, and by reputable and experienced people. If you go this route (rather than paying subscriptions to sites like I've mentioned above) then make sure that you read ALL of the comments. Look for adverse comments but also look out for anyone claiming that the "code doesn't work" or is incomplete. (Continue reading though, as often it is just that the person complaining hasn't followed the material closely enough.) Do a little searching about the author and the course. If it is a good course then it is likely to be recommended or mentioned at other sites.

I still contend that completing a good video course isn't sufficient on its own. Even courses of the length I've mentioned won't provide the level of detail that you need to master a subject.

1 Comments On This Entry

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Michael26 Icon

17 October 2016 - 01:34 PM
That is what i've been doing for the last few months. Combination of Pluralsight videos(Lynda.com has a few good ones too), books and some DIC advises will make you master programmer in no time :)
You get what you pay for.
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