Learning by Doing

A lot of times, I am challenged to create something for someone I don’t necessarily know how to do. More often than not, I’ll (mistakenly) begin on coding documentation, Youtube videos, or any tiresome bender of force-feeding information, into a brain that is often not willing to accept what I’m trying to teach it. This approach, for me, is tiresome, and ineffective.

Recently, I’ve begun a new approach. Rather than trying to learn everything there is to know about what I need to get the task done, I divide the task up into smaller parts, and begin trying to create elements that use at least some of the functionality.

Last week, I began developing an Android app with no prior Android app development experience. At first, I found myself lost in a mysterious world of manifests, activities, intents, and a litany of concepts I just wasn’t able to understand. I became confused, frustrated, and eventually discouraged almost to the point of quitting the.

Then, I decided to change my approach. I began looking at other people’s work, seeing what was possible, working on my own versions. Eventually, I found what I was looking for, created something I could use, and then moved on to the next element. After repeating several times, I wound up with a functioning (though) not very pretty, Android application, that I am still currently using.

My point is this, if you are faced with something that is unknown, don’t be afraid of it. Tackle the problem head on. Know your limitations, and know what you can do incrementally. I guarantee this approach will allow you to learn any discipline and accomplish any task.