In this post, I think about the different ways I learn, and wonder how that translates to how we learn in the SAP developer ecosphere.
This will be a shorter post than usual*, as I've just arrived at the (second worst) airport (in the world) on my way to the third and final instance of this year's SAP TechEd event, in Bangalore. As I sit here with some coffee, I've been thinking about my experiences at the recent Developer Relations Conference (DevRelCon) in London earlier this month.
*some of you may be breathing a sigh of relief!
I've written about some of my experiences already at DevRelCon in a previous Monday morning thoughts post on longevity and loose coupling, where I thought about some of GitHub's features in relation to webhooks and serverless computing in general. But this time I'd like to dwell a short while on some other stuff that I learned during the conference. The bottom line is that technology is changing all the time, and to remain relevant, one needs to keep learning. That means that there's a requirement for education. What sort of education is that, and what does it look like where the rubber meets the road?
A complete education experience
Conversations at the conference confirmed to me that rather than islands of information, developers are looking for that "complete education experience". What does that mean? Well, to me, and based on what I heard from others, it's long term learning based on focused paths through the myriad options and directions, with a personalised platform that keeps track of where you are and what you've achieved. Moreover, it includes a clear indication of learning goals, and definitions of "what good looks like" with respect to mastery of a subject.
I'm mindful of our tutorial system within our developer home space at https://developers.sap.com, and with the recent revamp for the start of the SAP TechEd season, I do think we're on the right path, especially having heard from others at the conference, and what their and their companies' aspirations in this respect were. If you've not tried the new tutorial experience, with groups of tutorials around a certain topic, and missions that cluster together tutorial groups, I'd definitely recommend you give it a try - kick those rubber tyres.
But of course there's content beyond our tutorial navigator in the wider SAP ecosphere world. There's the SAP Help Portal, various YouTube channels, such as the SAP HANA Academy, and who could omit the wonderful Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) openSAP with some excellent courses that run over weeks.
And we can't forget the less structured but nevertheless essential content here in the SAP Community, written by and for the community members themselves (us, in other words).
How do you learn best?
What I've been pondering, though, is - moving a layer above - how do people really learn? What are the different media (mediums if we're being post-Latin, but who wants to be post-Latin?) available, and what are the pros and cons of each. More importantly, what works for us? Conversations with work colleagues over the years has shown me that we're all different, we all consume information our own way, at our own pace, and different media resonates differently with each of us.
I've even been looking into the modern realms of Twitch TV recently (based on some other conversations at DevRelCon). It has certainly been eye opening - who knew there were so many games out there and so many folks not only playing but spectating? I found the Science & Technology channel in which various folks teach, indirectly, I guess, by streaming their live coding experiences. Fascinating, and I learned stuff almost by accident while transfixed by the experience.
So, as I head to the gate to take my first flight of the day, I'd like to leave the rest of this Monday morning thoughts post in your hands. Let me know in the comments below how you learn. What's your preferred medium, and why? What learning experiences have you had, what has worked well, what hasn't worked so well? Are you a video watcher, or a reader? For a new subject, do you reach for YouTube, the SAP Help Portal, blog posts, Q&A or something else? As we move further and further into the cloud and merge with the wider developer ecosphere, what experiences have you had there that we could learn from?
I look forward to hearing from you in the comments.
And if you're at SAP TechEd in Bangalore, come and say hi at the Developer Garage, and tell me directly how you learn best!
This post was brought to you by the hustle and bustle of an early Monday morning in Manchester airport, by Pret-A-Manger's filter coffee (not too bad actually), and by the prospect of the "travel-daze" that I'm going to be experiencing for the next 16 hours or so.