Learning with a Wandering Mind

Nov. 24, 2020

Alternative to a Focused Learning Method

I am usually trying to focus on the topic at hand when it comes to learning, let it be some aspects of Python, new technology in networking engineering, or learning how to become a better basketball player. I find it more effective when I can dedicate enough attention to a narrow scope of topics when it comes to learning. This method had served me well so far.

That makes it more surprising when I discovered recently that for me, it is sometimes more helpful to let the mind wander out of scope.

Tried.. and failed to Learn JavaScript

For a good number of years, I had tried but failed to learn JavaScript. I honestly don't know why, but there is something about JavaScript and their related frameworks that turned me off. I would get motivated for a few days, pick up a few concepts, but lose interest one way or another after a few tries. Sometime later, I would think about picking it up again, but so much time had lapsed that I feel like I am picking up the pieces all over again before I get frustrated and lose the momentum.. yet again.

Recently, when I tried to learn Vue.js (a relatively new JavaScript library), I decided to take a different approach to learn. Basically, I decided to not feel bad about wandering off the grid a bit and not feel too bad about falling off the grid a bit as long as this is in the general umbrella of 'JavaScript'.

Still about JavaScript and Vue

There was just one rule for my new approach, the wandering still needs to be related to 'JavaScript', but the scope can be pretty wide. So for example, here are the projects I have done loosely tied together:

  • Going over the official Vue video tutorial.
  • Attempted to integrate Vue-based apps into Python Django framework.
  • Tried out Vue-Native for writing mobile apps using Vue.
  • Going over the first few sections on Wes Bos 'JavaScript for Beginners' course.
  • About 2/3 way complete Udemy course on Vue.
  • Halfway thru chapter 1 of the book 'Vue in Action'.
  • Going over two free code-along videos on Vue on YouTube.
  • Started, but never finish about 5 other Vue-related videos.
  • ... many others.

The point is, in my previous ultra-learning and ultra-focused learning style, I would not have moved on from one project to the next until I am completely done. But so far it has kept me motivated and still engaged in learning about Vue. A few days ago, I actually completed my first milestone, which was to migrate a Vue-app to the Django-based site.

Lessons Learned

The biggest lesson I learned from this exercise is to keep an open mind about learning. I thought I had figured out my own learning style and the best way I go about learning a new topic. But had I kept the same mindset I probably would just repeat another failed attempt to learn JavaScript.

The jury is still out on my progress with JavaScript, but so far it has been the longest period of time when I consistently code in JavaScript on a daily basis.

I hope you can keep an open mind about your own learning style and be mindful about what works best for you. Leave me a comment if you have any suggestions or observations, I'd love to hear from you!

Happy Coding,


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