As you probably already know by now, learning how to code from scratch rarely comes without challenge. If you made a strong decision to learn Java, you would probably face all kinds of problems along the way: motivational, emotional (when the progress is not going as you expected), time and energy-related. Such problems are quite frequent even among CodeGym’s students, despite CG having everything to make this process as easy and entertaining as it can possibly get.
There is good news too, though. The learning science is not standing still, and there are so many well-researched and proven new ways of learning things these days. Trying them can help you find new approaches to learning and make this process more effective or less monotonous.
Let’s take a look at a few of the innovative learning strategies in modern pedagogy that can be applied to learning how to code in Java easily and with considerable benefit.
1. Incidental learning
Incidental learning is basically getting into the learning without a plan and specific timing, whenever you have some free time or in the middle of doing something unrelated and this idea comes into your mind. Latest research shows that this technique can be very effective, helping to integrate the learning process into your daily life. This way, you can shift the perception of learning how to code as an isolated activity, which is also often viewed by your mind as a bit of a burden.
Incidental learning comes much easier these days, with so many great mobile learning applications available, allowing you to kick in the learning process pretty much at any time and any place. Not to advertise, but CodeGym also has a mobile app
, which is perfect for this learning technique. You can open it on your mobile device at any time to get a bit of that Java knowledge during lunch or while waiting in the line, for example.
2. Crossover learning
Crossover learning is another method that is getting popular these days, especially among self-learners. The concept of crossover learning is similar with incidental learning, but focuses on slightly different things. It is about learning in informal, new settings, such as coffee shops, museums, parks, while on a weekend trip, etc. Of course, today, during an ongoing COVID epidemic and quarantines in many of the world countries, utilizing this method might be more difficult but still doable. The idea is to learn in a new and fresh environment, which your brain is not used to.
3. Computational thinkingWe have already written about computational thinking
as one of the computer science subjects and something to learn to boost your programming skills and abilities before. But it can also be quite a powerful technique when applied to learning.
Computational thinking is a set of methods that involves taking a complex problem and breaking it down into a series of smaller problems that are easier to manage. This technique consists of four main methods: decomposition, generalization/abstraction, pattern recognition/data representation, and algorithms. They are all equally important and effective when applied in the right order. In learning, computational thinking would allow you to solve problems faster and more efficiently, achieving better progress.
4. Adaptive teaching
All people are different, as are the ways they can learn in the most effective way. But most learning programs and courses are the same for everyone. And this is always the problem, because it means that any course needs to pick a structure that would be best for the majority of learners, while for the minority of others this approach will not be as effective, so they may find it more difficult than it really is or struggle with a lot of procrastination.
Adaptive learning is a way to address this problem. The essence of this technique is using data about the previous learning experience of a person to create a personalized approach to the educational content. So using an adaptive teaching system would give you suggestions on when to start learning a new piece of knowledge, which content approach to choose, what time of the day is best for learning, and many other things.
Here are a few apps that use adaptive teaching technologies: NextNLP
, BYJU'S - The Learning App
5. Interleaved practice
Another curious yet fairly simple technique. Interleaved practice is about learning two unrelated skills / fields of knowledge at the same time. You just study one thing, let’s say Java, for some time, and then switch to another learning practice for a while before you get back to studying Java.
Applying interleaved practice would allow you to utilize the power of your brain by using both focused and diffused thinking methods. Studies show that interleaved learning technique makes it harder to memorize stuff and repeat them in practice, but the knowledge you get while doing it tends to be more solid and long-lasting.
6. Retrieval practice
Retrieval practice is another basic teaching approach that has proven to be effective and now is recommended to be used in modern pedagogy. It focuses on recalling everything that you learnt after each session. Using this practice improves learning results by forcing your mind to recover all the information you just went through without taking actual tests or practicing. Putting this knowledge to practice afterwards also gets easier.
7. Distributed practice
Distributed practice focuses on when you learn above other things. The main idea is to distribute your learning sessions through a reasonably considerable time. So the breaks between each session should take at least one day or more. Studying on alternate days would be the way to go when you’re applying the distributed practice to your learning. This is another method that allows you to utilize both the focused and diffused thinking methods and use them for your benefit.
Finally, as all CodeGym’s users probably already know by now, gamification can be a pretty great way to empower your learning and achieve better progress while also having fun in the process. Gamification is a valid learning technique, which gets increasingly popular in all kinds of learning fields. Its effectiveness has been proven. The most significant results it shows when applied to kids in elementary and preschool systems, but grown-ups are in no way strangers to playing games as well, so it works on us quite well too.
Here are several examples of cool gamification learning apps: Gimkit
, Class Dojo
, and more.