Understanding how to learn is a key element to the speed and intensity the course delivers.
The course is extremely intense and demanding! In addition to attending onsite full-time for 12 weeks, developers are expected to spend time in the evenings and weekends to solidify their learning. In addition to the onsite course, all developers complete a 4 week part-time PreCourse, to ensure that they are proficient in solving problems using Ruby, and have tried using Test Driven Development (TDD).
Makers places a strong emphasis on coding process, rather than heavily teaching concepts. Students learn about concepts like Object Oriented Programming, how the web works, and how to design databases; however, they are also taught good coding processes. This means that very quickly they have learnt repeatable processes for debugging, TDD, and learning new languages which can be applied to any problem. So within 12 weeks they are confident enough to build complex apps using technologies they have not been taught.
The intensive nature of the course is only one of the factors that lead to accelerated learning. We also use the following approaches:
- Strongly encourage peer-led learning, through pairing, code review and knowledge sharing. It has been proven that developers learn more effectively from each other than from being taught.
- Use a range of learning approaches, including focussed workshops, individual exploration and guided practicals, structured weekly projects with walkthroughs, weekend challenges with no guidance, code reviews, and process reviews.
- Students are encouraged to take charge of their own learning, and focus on the things that will help them achieve their goals.
- Students can take as many Reviews as they like, to get feedback on their process.
- In the early weeks of the course we guide them through the process of goal setting and reflection, which helps them to learn how to set achievable goals and monitor their progress towards these.