Best way to learn something by yourself?

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Dgosling
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14 Sep 2011, 9:56 am

I'm trying to learn programming but with my ADD and other mental problems I can't pay attention long enough to books or programming tutorials. :/

Does anyone have any tips?



kx250rider
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14 Sep 2011, 10:54 am

I'm not sure how complex today's programming languages are, but I know that when I was interested and fascinated by it in the 1980s, it would have been about impossible to self-teach. I'm probably like you describe yourself, in that I like to learn things by reading or doing it on my own. In this case, and with the ADD & other issues we have, I'd maybe think about either a class, or at least hook up with someone who is a programmer, and maybe can help you out. I learned the trade of TV and VCR repair and some basic electronic engineering and theory by self-study, and then I got a job at a local TV repair shop after school when I was 13 or 14, and I was taught hands-on the things that you can't learn from a book. I would have failed to learn the skills had I enrolled in a TV repair school, but the on-the-job environment worked great for me.

For other types of learning, if it was something I really had an interest in, I somehow figured out how to put the time in. I love to study US history, and particularly technology history, and I've done that 99.9% on my own. So it's possible, I suppose, to learn anything on ones own, but with something as technical as programming, it might be easier to do it in a structured class, at least for the first part.

Charles



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14 Sep 2011, 11:03 am

I don't know, try bit by bit? Take regular breaks. I don't know, just a suggestion.



Sora
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14 Sep 2011, 11:42 am

This helps with my ADHD:

Short and straight to the point. What's important? What isn't important to now at my level of knowledge? What is too specific to bother with/what is rarely used and thus not as important to memorise as other information?

Trying to pay attention to and memorising tons of interesting - but not exactly most useful - information will lead to nothing with my ADHD "in charge" at that moment.

Frequent successes. Paying attention to a couple of things and trying to memorise only these to put them to use right away keeps me on track and helps greatly with memorisation.

Moving on. I'm not going to stick with one thing and its numerous details for too long.

Rather than memorising all the details and all 10 out of 10 uses for a word/phrase/whatever, I'll memorise the 1-3 used most often/most important and move on. I can always refer back to very specific details later.


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Dgosling
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14 Sep 2011, 11:51 am

Sora wrote:
This helps with my ADHD:

Short and straight to the point. What's important? What isn't important to now at my level of knowledge? What is too specific to bother with/what is rarely used and thus not as important to memorise as other information?

Trying to pay attention to and memorising tons of interesting - but not exactly most useful - information will lead to nothing with my ADHD "in charge" at that moment.

Frequent successes. Paying attention to a couple of things and trying to memorise only these to put them to use right away keeps me on track and helps greatly with memorisation.

Moving on. I'm not going to stick with one thing and its numerous details for too long.

Rather than memorising all the details and all 10 out of 10 uses for a word/phrase/whatever, I'll memorise the 1-3 used most often/most important and move on. I can always refer back to very specific details later.


I'll have to try that thanks. :D



Lucywlf
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14 Sep 2011, 2:02 pm

The main problem I've run across in teaching myself computer languages is finding books that are well-written and complete. Of course, I started off and on teaching myself in the eighties and had to stop in the late nineties



YellowBanana
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14 Sep 2011, 2:20 pm

When I was teaching myself to program I couldn't learn by "reading" books or following tutorials.

I had to learn by having a specific project to complete that I was motivated to complete. That way I learned what I needed to learn to complete the project.

I am still the same now with pretty much everything I teach myself. I can only learn by actually using things to complete some goal that I am self-motivated to complete. So I learn Spanish by writing to my good native Spanish-speaker friend about things that I want to tell her. In order to do that I have learn the things I need to be able to write what I want.

No amount of tutorials or "book reading" help me to learn anything. I have to apply what I am learning as I am learning to something that I self-motivated to complete.


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TallyMan
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14 Sep 2011, 2:29 pm

I have some problems with ADHD and am a professional programmer. Nowadays there is a massive amount to learn and you have to keep learning too because today's technologies are obsolete two or three years down the line. I've been writing software for thirty years in lots of different languages. They key thing is to have a personal objective. Set yourself a target. Something small at first, some trivial game like noughts and crosses to program. Your attention span should last long enough to achieve your project. As you learn more and more techniques your projects will become more ambitious. I can generally keep my attention focussed on a programming task for one or two weeks now - very highly focussed and intense, then my attention fades and I find it difficult to maintain interest or motivation to pay attention to it any more - then I need a new project.


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Christopherwillson
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16 Sep 2011, 9:08 pm

i think you gotta see learning as a battery, you empty it by putting your focus on your learning and you fill it by taking a rest and doing something you really enjoy doing. you really gotta reward yourself at short term and remember that it makes the long term better because no one can operate with an empty battery.

No one can achieve big things without downtime, that person isn't born yet ;-)

Good Luck!!


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