The Most Common Question

I’ve been asked a fair number of questions of the years, but there is one in particular that I tend to hear over and over again, and ironically, it’s always been the most difficult one to answer.

The question, for any given topic, is a variation of  “Where do I start?” or “Can you recommend a good beginner’s book?”

Now, I’ve been writing books for many years, and publishing courses on Pluralsight for over a year – not to mention learning technologies on my own, so you can imagine that this is a question in one that I care about very much. Yet I’ve always found it difficult to answer – because by the time someone asks me the question on a given topic, I’m usually well past the beginner stage and don’t really know what the best beginner’s resources are at the moment.

It’s only recently that I realized that resources aren’t the problem. The problem is that people are asking the wrong question. Beginner’s don’t need learning resources – they need learning strategies. Advances in technology have radically changed the way we can and should learn technology, and I’m not talking here about online resources and courses. Technology is beginning to fundamentally disrupt education, and it’s time to look at education in a different way – one that understands and leverages resources in a way that varies by individual and by the technology being learned.

That is the subject of my new Pluralsight course “Learning Technology in the Information Age”. Its purpose is to change the way you look at learning a new technology in order to make that learning more efficient. To help you to think carefully about what you want to learn, why you want to learn it, and what types of resources to choose and where to find them. In short – to design your own learning path before you start diving into resources. It’s a lot like designing software before coding – and we all know to do that, right?

I encourage you to take a look – Learning new technologies is a challenge we all face every day, and the time you spend on this short course may pay off many times over in time you save learning technologies going forward.

2 Responses to “The Most Common Question”

  1. Greg Harris Says:

    I “attended” this course today whilst out of town w/ my wife at a meeting – it was a timely answer to my need to focus!

    I wondered ….. is this the same guy whose programming book I read some years ago — the one that was global-level generic w/ fundamentals,
    the one I need to pick up again now that I’ve “finally” decided to commit to learning some programming?

    yep … when I returned home, went into the library & there it is —
    my highlighted, underlined “How Computer Programming Works” @ 2000, Dan Appleman.

    I was also happy to discover that I’ve essentially laid out the courses of action that Dan recommends, and his breakdown into 4 conceptual levels that can serve as a very useful model/map, is also what I’ve intuited for some time — ’cause @ age 61, I gotta wonder how I’ll compare to the ‘flatbellies’ of the current I.T. market ?! once I’m in position to actively demand $ for my services.

    Thanks ever so much Dan, & will be planning to “attend” your other Pluralsight courses as well.

  2. Dan Says:

    Hi Greg:
    Thanks for the kind words. I’d suggest checking out the Career and Survival Strategies Course next – I think it will help address your last question :-)

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