How to Learn - Charting the Uncharted


Toby Ho

Are you in the process of learning React? AngularJS? TypeScript? Node.js? Gulp? EcmaScript 6? ClojureScript? {Insert your tool, framework or programming language here}? Does the prospect of having to learn a "new way" of programming make you uncomfortable? Have you ever gone through a tutorial and still don't feel like you have a good grasp of the concepts? Do you think learning a new technology is a slow and painful process?

If you are in the software profession, learning is an integral part of your job. Frameworks, languages and tools come and go so fast that in five years you are likely going to be working with a different set of tools. Although there are countless blog posts, tutorials and courses on the internet to teach you any topic you can imagine, that still doesn't make learning easy. New technologies break ground by changing the way we think about problems. The bigger the mental shift required, the steeper the learning curve.

I will present principles and techniques that will allow you to learn faster and better - with a firmer grasp of concepts, which better allows you to transfer knowledge to new problem domains. Taken together, these techniques give you a loose framework for learning any new complex piece of technology, whether it be a new framework, library, platform, or programming language - using resources you can readily find on the internet.

Notes: This is for developers of all levels. I am very interested in learning and how best to help people learn and have done a lot of mentoring and giving free workshops to the public. I gave this talk roughly a year ago at ConnectJS and received great feedback. Shortly after that, I decided to become a teacher in order to dive even more into this topic. Since then, I have taken 2 cohorts of students through 16 full intensive weeks of training, and have learned a more about learning than I previously did. This talk will represent my current thoughts on the topic and will aim to teach others to learn effectively on their own.