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June 15, 2017

Blogging Driven Learning

Last week at RC, Lauryn had organized a ‘Blogging Buddies’ group to talk about all things blogging. To kick things off, we decided that each person in the group post a blog about why they blog.  So this is why I blog!

When I seriously started learning programming about 8 months ago, I had a hard time memorizing important concepts that I was learning. The process went something like this:

 

  1. Learn about some JavaScript concept. Let’s say clousures.
  2. See it used on a tutorial some days later.
  3. Try to recall what closure is but fail.
  4. Google around and discover 4 more slightly different explanations of what clousure is.
  5. Get frustrated, give up on trying to really understand clousure and move on with the rest of the tutorial.
I knew this was not going to be sustainable. It all changed when I watched this course on Udemy (only $10 at the time!). What is so great about the course is that it throughly explains in detail, all the other concepts needed to explain one concept. It felt like reading a good story. I started writing a blog post to help me memorize the concepts .
 
The post ended up being 1500 words long! This might not be a lot for regular bloggers, but for me, I hadn’t blogged 1500 words in total before .
 
For each concept learned, I created my own example/implementation of it. The point was not to fully understand all the concepts, rather it was to document each concept and concretize it in my own terms.
 
This meant that every time I forget what a concept entailed, I no longer frantically google it. Rather, I comeback to my blog post and reacclimate myself. If I have learned something new, then I modified the blog post accordingly. The repetition of this process allowed for concepts to sink in my head organically. This way, I no longer solely relied on memory retention.
 
I’ve repeated this Blogging Driven Learning method a few times now and it’s been working great! I wrote this to learn about Node JSI am currently doing a series on Data structures and Algorithm ( Lists  Stacks  , Queues , Linked Lists. )
So in the end blogging has become a reliable cheat sheet / documentation written for myself. And now my blog is full of unpublished drafts about all kind of topics (programming, meditation, architecture…) that I plan to explain to myself using the same method. 

There is of course another dimension to blogging: It’s Public! In fact that is the scary part in all of this, specially writing about technical topics. The most important realization that helped me get over this fear is the fact that I’m really blogging for myself. It just so happens that other people can also see what I write. If other people find what I write useful, great! However, as far as I’m concerned my blog has an intended grand audience of one person.