The Learning Disconnect

Blog Summary: (AI Summaries by Summarizes)
  • Educational material starts with a learning objective, which defines what the material is supposed to teach you.
  • Before starting to learn anything, it's important to be clear on your goal or desired outcome.
  • If there is a mismatch between your goal and the learning objective, you won't be successful.
  • One-star book reviews on Amazon for programming books often stem from a disconnect between the learning objective and the person's desired outcome.
  • The learning objective manifests as assumptions on the author's part, so it's important to pay attention to a book's or course's intended audience.

When educational material is created, it starts with a learning objective. It doesn’t matter it’s a book or a video series.

This learning objective defines what the book is supposed to teach you. You’ll usually see this learning objective in the title or description of the book. This is supposed to help you choose the right book. More importantly, it’s there to set up your expectations for the outcome.

Before you start learning anything, you should be very clear on what your goal or desired outcome is. It could be:
To learn how to program
Learn the skills and technologies to become a Data Engineer
Improve your technical and Big Data skills to become a Data Scientist

If you have a mismatch between your goal and the learning objective, you won’t be successful.

I had an assignment in one of my courses to look at 1 star book reviews on Amazon. I focused on programming books.

The core of most one star reviews was a disconnect between the learning objective and the person’s desired outcome. As I read the reviews, I felt bad for the authors. Blaming the author or teacher for a student’s own mistakes is too common.

There were a few notable reviews. This one assumes that buying a book gets them support from the author. This is very rare. If you’re learning something new and complex, like Big Data, you’ll need an expert’s help.

The learning objective manifests as assumptions on the author’s part. This review takes issue with the author’s assumptions about who is reading the book. There is a big difference between teaching programming and teaching programmers something about a language. Pay attention to a book’s or course’s intended audience.

When you’re trying to learn something, you need to be very clear about your objective. If you’re wanting to become a Data Engineer, you need to learn from the sources with that learning objective.

It’s important to realize that a bunch of introductory material put together doesn’t magically make you an expert. For example, if you’ve spent 2 weeks going through introductory materials, you are still a beginner. If you’ve spent 8 weeks going through introductory, intermediate, and advanced materials, you can come out with a skill level commensurate with the level of effort and practice you put into it.

In my Big Data classes that means actually doing the exercises. People can watch my videos all they want, but they won’t get better until they practice. Copying and pasting code isn’t practice. It’s hard work, but you actually have to do the exercises.

Learning how to learn is a crucial part of life and career.

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