[erlang-questions] Re: What about making sense?

Robert Raschke rtrlists@REDACTED
Wed Feb 24 15:41:36 CET 2010

On Sat, Feb 20, 2010 at 6:02 PM, Joe Armstrong <erlang@REDACTED> wrote:

> So If you *really* want to learn, try things in this order:
>    1) go on a course
>    2) watch a video
>    3) read a book
>    4) read the documentaion
>    5) read some code
Intriguing, how different learning approaches can be!

My preferred order of learning is the exact opposite:

Look at the code,
if that doesn't make sense, look at the documentation,
if it's still opaque and I really need to learn this, get me a book,
if that's not helping much, maybe a video might provide insight (but this
hasn't happened to me yet),
but I have never been to a technical course that was worth it.

(There are good technical courses out there, but I just haven't been
fortunate enough to attend any.)

It is entirely possible that this approach of mine stems from the fact that
I never learnt C, Java, Basic, Pascal, Fortran, etc. I learnt to program in
some university made up language that had no implementation outside the uni
computers. So I never got swamped by the gunk that most languages carry
around as libraries while learning. There was never any aspect of glueing
stuff together. All exercises in the first 3 semesters were sized such that
they were impossible to solve on your own, you had to have groups of 3-4
people working together (2 could work if stretched). Later semesters taught
content, not languages, you implemented in whatever language you liked or
thought appropriate (sometimes the tools at your disposal might be very
restricted, for the OS course, for example). But in general, languages were
tools you had to pick up yourself.

Having heard a lot of other's experiences in learning "programming" (CS,
Informatics, etc.), I have come to the conclusion that I have been
extraordinarely lucky in my university experience.


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