Philip Guo (Phil Guo, Philip J. Guo, Philip Jia Guo, pgbovine)

Hobby projects as platforms for active learning

Working on a hobby project is a great idea ...

  • not just because you are creating something, which in itself is valuable and enriching

    • gets you into a state of flow, which increases happiness
    • provides a sense of personal accomplishment that can't be obtained by passively watching TV or surfing the web
  • but more importantly, because it provides a platform for you to actively learn new skills

    • your project provides you with a reason to learn new skills that you wouldn't ordinarily learn 'in a vacuum'
    • if you just pick up a book and learn from their toy examples, then you're not going to retain the knowledge too well because you don't feel a personal connection or motivation
      • you probably don't care at all about the examples that the book is employing
    • but when you are applying formal knowledge to a project that you personally care about, you will learn better, have more fun, and retain the knowledge for far longer
  • Through learning by doing an actual project you feel passionate about,

    • you will end up learning much more than is required to complete your current project
    • your newfound knowledge and experiences will make it easier for you to pursue your next related project
  • starting a website or web application is a great example project that provides a platform to allow you to learn about all sorts of computing and web technologies that you might have never bothered to learn about otherwise

  • remember, the end-product or result of your project isn't what matters most, it's the skills you gained from doing that project that matter much more in the long run!

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Created: 2008-06-20
Last modified: 2008-06-20