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I think today's typical/traditional 3-5 days developer training classes aren't so great, as you tend to forget half of it shortly after. It's too much one way communication and not enough interaction. Also brain research has shown that this kind of setup is usually not optimal for efficient learning.

For clarification, I am referring to professional, commercial, paid classes. However this could also be applied for any kind of studies.

How could the ultimate developer training package be setup to really make sure you learn what you are supposed to learn?

Would that be more:

  • Multimedia?
  • Exercises?
  • Homeworks?
  • Spread out over time instead of 3-5 compact days?
  • Group projects?
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migrated from stackoverflow.com Mar 9 '11 at 20:17

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2 Answers

I think the ultimate developer training course would be to hire the instructor to come in and walk everyone through the project they are currently working on. Even if it is just one iteration. At least then you are learning how to solve the problems/use the tools/learn the techniques you are actually going to need. The biggest problem with most training courses is that they work great for the examples in the course, but then when you try to apply them to your particular needs there is frequently a big mismatch or the course left out some really key concept that is required on your project.

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Its definitely better to be spread out over time. If someone floods you with new information you need time. And if you don't have time your brain just refuses to think anymore, so there's no point in the course. And if someone just goes there to take notes and learn it later, he'd better buy a book.

Theory is great as it learns you to think logically and foresee problems some wouldn't expect, but if there aren't enough practical examples and exercises the whole course will be for nothing. It's about finding the balance between theory and practice. Group projects is a good way to also teach you how to work in a team, it's also a very good way to practice.

I think practical examples are the most importaint thing. Show what happens, why it happens, explain the logic.

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I much prefer the "one day a week for X weeks" courses, ideally with a little interaction to tweak the course towards problems people are actually having. The "solid week" courses I usually try to only attend the last couple of days because they're so aften a reprise of the basics for the first couple of days. Even the "advanced" courses. But that only works if the study material is available without attending, and some places really try to avoid that (because the course is just watching the presenter read through that study material) –  Мסž Mar 9 '11 at 21:28
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