What would a better training course be like?
In what ways would it differ?
For whom would it be better?
How would we know that it is better?
What would we measure?
Better for learners and providers
In general, whatever you are learning, all of these questions might be important to you. To a large extent, the answers depend on your needs and on the structure of the subject area. So, more specifically, my interest is in the answers in the case of learning to use a programming language.
In talking to potential partners who would like to be able to deliver a course on Java programming, I am struck by the absence of any discussion of what might make a course better than other courses. Naturally, there is discussion about the course being “better” for the training provider.
But in the end, the needs of the learner will surely dominate. So, of course, “better” must mean better in the eye of the beholder, who is ultimately the learner, although there may be two or more layers in between.
What is needed?
Having spent hundreds of hours training people in Java programming, it is clear to me that there is more than one way to approach the subject. Having spent hundreds more hours training people in object-oriented design for implementation in Java, it is also clear to me that the most generally used approach does not work at all well.
People who have completed a Java course, apparently without undue difficulty, can frequently manage to avoid understanding some important concepts.
So, a few years ago, I set out to do better. The resulting course has been the subject of my thoughts, from time to time, ever since. It seems to stand the test of time.
Improving the sequence!
For the Java programming course in question, I have modified the sequence in ways that are mostly subtle, but not always! As you may know, this is consistent with my belief that the sequence is the foundation of learning anything.
When the course is available, we can discuss the specific differences from a more normal sequence. But, in the meantime, I am thinking about what might be expected by learners and others, and about whether further changes are also possible.