This article was originally posted at Which type of courses will be the best to learn programming?
A few days ago, I saw a question on the forum, asked by a user who would like to start learning programming. He was asking about a programming course for beginners, which will be the best for him to start. Also, he asked about one interesting thing which I never paid attention to, which will be a better type of course, video course or interactive course with coding challenges, as he is a beginner and he doesn’t know where to start actually.
This question makes me think about it, and about the way we are learning. Obviously, everyone has preferred way to learn, some of us prefer to read books, some of us prefer to learn by doing, while others are happy to learn from video tutorials.
I decided to create an article describing the pros and cons of certain types of online programming courses to make this choice easier for other people who what to jump into programming easily. I remember that I went through this point as well when I didn’t know which type of programming courses is the best for me. I spend long hours learning from sources which wasn’t fun at all and which I didn’t enjoy.
Lots of people admit that as beginners, they prefer watching the content than reading it. I would say it may be true if we would compare video courses to books written in non-beginner friendly language. But let’s compare it to interactive platforms where we can learn by doing.
Video courses are very popular in those days, and there are multiple platforms selling different video tutorials. Indisputably, video tutorials have a lot of advantages while learning programming.
For sure, it's easy to check how much time does it take, so planning the amount of content per a learning session seems to be easier with video courses. But is it? It’s worth to take into consideration that sometimes we can stick in one lesson for longer. It happened to me sometimes while I was learning how to build an app with a video tutorial, and I had some issues with setting the environment.
A lot depends on the tutor
Learning from online video tutorials can very often be as exciting as the tutor is. From my point of view, it's very important to select a course which is lead by a person with positive energy. I bet you know what I mean, sometimes people can talk about programming in a very interesting way while others make it so boring. That's why I always try to check the preview lesson before buying the course. I recommend you to do the same.
While taking the online video course you have t be very disciplined and you have to do things along with the tutor. Otherwise, you may not remember too much from coding by only watching like others do this.
For video courses with the theory, you don’t need a computer, and you can watch it on your mobile while going to work. This is a big advantage but at the same time it's very hard to make notes if there is anything important what you would like to write down.
Interactive courses with code challenges
Now, let's get more into learning from interactive tutorials based on reading text content and solving code challenges. It’s very easy to find platforms that provide access for this kind of course as well as video courses. This way of learning also has lots of advantages and can be a great starting point for beginners.
Using interactive courses to learn programming may be very comfortable because it allows you to adjust the speed of learning to your possibilities. Some people can understand things faster, some people need to read things a couple of times to get what’s the point. While learning from text content there’s nobody who imposes how fast the subject is finished. I always preferred to read the text, then to stop the video to go through it again.
Another advantage of code challenges based tutorials is that it really makes you think, and try to solve the problem using everything that you’ve just learned. It allows you to learn how a particular skill should be used, and I bet that spending some time on writing code will help you to remember it much better. It’s the first small way to practice.
That kind of courses often provides a ready environment where you can practice your code. It’s a great opportunity if you are a beginner and you don’t have to struggle with all those installations, selecting code editor, etc. Besides, it deprives you of all the fun which programming brings.
About the fun, that’ s the other advantage of interactive courses. Solving all those small challenges is so fun, it gives you the feeling of achieving another step and small wins. No matter what I learn, interactive courses always make it more fun and more enjoyable.
I believe it’s a way easier to get engaged when we have the challenge to solve, based on what you’ve just read. I believe you would focus and try to understand the issue to be able to use it in a few minutes while you have to solve the quiz or write some code.
Selecting a proper source of learning is very important to successfully gain the skills. By taking the wrong course or starting from more advanced subjects you can easily lose interest.
Trying both ways is what I would do if I would start with learning programming from scratch. I would try video tutorials and interactive courses to find out what's better for me, and what allows me to focus on learning for a longer time. Both ways of learning may have some advantages and disadvantages, and it’s very personal which way you will select and you would feel better with.
Personally, as a beginner, I preferred interactive tutorials because the feeling of solving challenges gave me lot’s of positive energy to continue, and I wasn’t frustrated with setting the environment or trying to catch the piece of code which a tutor just created and scrolled away.
When content that I want to learn became more advanced I went deeper with the books. Video tutorials are my favorite while learning about less technical things like self-development.
I hope you will find this article useful if you need to make a choice about what’s better for you. Also, share in comments what’s your favorite source of learning?
Thank you for reading,
Anna from Duomly