So my journey into learning
... how to be a developer / programmer / software guru is less than stellar. Think of it like this: re-wiring a 1971 Gremlin electrical system. Yeah...that.
But I'm reading posts on the internet, listening to podcasts, watching vlogs, reading blogs, online tutorials, online live streams, etc. I'm trying what I can, that looks like I can understand it, but still push my boundaries. I'm trying them all if they look I can get a toe hold of comprehension.
Disclosure: I've followed the live streamed mini-bootcamps from Lambdaschool and also the the pacman lesson from Code Dojo.
With the live streamed lessons, a common theme I've found to many of these beginner live streaming lessons is that the majority of the audience attending are not really beginners. And for the true beginner, this is what dooms the lesson before it starts.
For example, in a recent streamed course, the people in the chat room would generally start posting comments like "Is that like a dictionary in java, and can I convert the object into an variable?". And so forth.
The live lesson had never mentioned anything about java, or dictionaries, etc. And the hosts just move along with this, oblivious to the poor souls now lost by these comments. These statements just cause real beginners to become confused and frustrated and give up entirely. They're now lost, trying to understand everything that just transpired with no knowledge to back it up.
I want to shake the hosts out of their daze and tell them to get back to the basic concept of this whole thing. For BEGINNERS. When someone asks something out of context, just tell them "Thats not part of this lesson" and get back to the people desperately drinking in your knowledge. Stop changing your lesson for that person that already knows what you're doing. Should he be in your beginners lessons if he's asking questions you haven't taught yet? Stop chasing the rabbit.
The hosts usually don't acknowledge those left behind. Probably because of the disarray already, while all the people in the chat room pound out "You missed a semicolon" or "Why wouldn't you use an array inside of that object?". Again, only making things worse. The hosts blissfully fall into this advanced conversation and start to ignore the entire group of people they said this lesson was designed for. Because they're so confused already they can't begin to ask a question because the conversation is already 13 steps beyond where they're stuck at. The hosts have lost. The beginners have lost.
I understand you can't stop an entire lesson for one person stuck. Everyone would suffer, lose time, etc. But I believe they should still keep on track with the basic design of the lesson and NOT GET SIDETRACKED by questions outside of the plan.
A good example of this is the mini-bootcamp lessons I've taken with Lambda School. The hosts usually go through part of the lesson, then pause to go back to the #questions chatroom. They'll answer most of the questions, and if any are far away from the lesson plan they'll say thats beyond the scope and request they ask about it afterwards. I believe this is two fold. One to keep the time of the lesson down, and two to keep things on track to benefit everyone. This keeps everyone on the same page, and the only real confusion comes in when someone doesn't understand the code presented. From my experience, questions asked in the #questions chat room are answered by other students quick enough. And I've even had another student help me understand object/arrays by spending over 30 minutes with me, 6 days after the original live lesson. Thanks Jesse
In a recent case, I participated in a live stream from Code Dojo Academy (this is a beta test of a program they're putting together) that was teaching
At first I was frustrated, then I became angry when one of the hosts was pulled into an intermediate and even advanced conversation. Concepts, words, ideas that were foreign to the beginner were thrown around like this was normal. For anyone wanting to learn, this only made them run away...far far away. The hosts had turned away the crowd they tried to woo. They got off track because of the non-beginners shouting out. And there were so many of them, uncontrolled, that any beginner question was quickly snuffed out of existence.
So what does one do in this case? Give them the finger and walk away? Thats one option. But not for me. I'm going to email them a link to this and ask them to reply. I truly want to know why they drifted away from a live stream for beginners and got sucked into the chat room FULL of actual programmers and get off track so bad they forgot their original intention. I'm curious to know. If this is their design for what they're trying to sell, I've got bad news for them.