Want to Learn Something? Teach it.
After walking an employee through the basics of HTML today, I realized how much I actually learned by teaching her. It made me go back to the basics, do some research, and find out a few new things that I never knew. Teaching someone the basics actually made me learn more. I think this is a valuable lesson that anyone can apply to a new “thing” they want to learn how to do. It’s a simple theory - if you need to teach someone how to do something, you better know what the hell you are talking about. So you do your research. And you learn more than you knew before.
I was originally thinking that teaching someone HTML code would be similar to how I gave golf lessons in the past. Being a golf instructor, I have given lots of lessons in my lifetime - but it’s tough to compare the way you teach a golf swing to the way you code a website. The way you theorize code and way you can show someone how to swing a golf club are entirely different. It took me a while to wrap my head around programming. It’s an abstract art that requires you to assimilate code to physical things in your head. At the very least, it requires you to associate code with something you already know about. Whatever that is, it needs to work for you. Everyone learns and thinks differently. The beauty of programming is the same application can be written millions of different ways. Not everyone will program something the same way, but the result can always look similar.
So next time you want to learn how to do something - give a presentation on it. Teach it one-on-one. Write an article on it. This will give you the motivation to do your research and start learning.