As soon as we heard author and entrepreneur, Tim Ferriss at SXSW Interactive describing the benefits of Accelerated Learning, we were immediately hooked on the model. We were also eager to share it as a great approach to speeding up learning to code, as it ties directly into our teaching style and approach at Treehouse. Accelerated Learning is an intense and immersive way to learn – so you have to be willing to put in the hard work and effort – but it’s also an ideal way to approach learning to code if you want to do so in a short space of time.
So what is Accelerated Learning?
Accelerated Learning is a method for learning a new skill by learning more quickly and deeply, immersing yourself in your learning, and embracing processes like trial and error. Ferriss has experienced success countless times with Accelerated Learning – including learning how to swim in 10 days after not being able to for over 30 years – but it really can be applied to learning almost any skill. From Ferriss’s personal experiences, he came up with the D.S.S.S acronym to share the basic framework of the method and encourage others to try out Accelerated Learning. Here’s are the steps of D.S.S.S.:
- Deconstruction: Take the skill you’d like to learn and break it into the smallest parts and order them in the least intimidating way
- Selection: Identify which 20% of those parts will deliver 80% of the results
- Sequencing: Establish the most logical (and least intimidating) order for you to approach that 20%
- Stakes: Establish accountability for yourself by building in incentive and consequences
How can you use Accelerated Learning when it comes to learning how to code? Let’s break it down by applying D.S.S.S to learning web design at Treehouse.
- Deconstruction: Break down the smallest parts. The good news is at Treehouse we break up concepts within our Tracks and courses to make them easily digestible. For example, our Learn Web Design Track starts off with the How to Build a Website course – which is made up of stages of tutorials, quizzes and code challenges – followed by the CSS Basics course – which adds to what you’ve learned in the previous course – and so on. So you can easily treat each of the courses or even stages as a “part”.
- Selection: Identify the 20%. To build a website, you’ll need to understand the two main building blocks of a website, which are HTML (the structure of a website) and CSS (the appearance of it). With that in mind, the 20% that will deliver 80% of the results are all of the basic HTML, CSS and the How to Build a Website course. By learning those initial “parts” you’ll have the foundation knowledge you need.
- Sequencing: Establish the order. In more good news, if you choose to learn with a Treehouse track like Learn Web Design, the logical order is already set up for you. If you’re interested in learning another coding skill that isn’t a Track, you can always ask the Treehouse Community – including our teachers – for recommendations.
- Stakes: Establish accountability. This is a good stage to reflect on why you want to learn your chosen skill. If it is web design, maybe you want to build a website for your business, or improve your company’s website? Whatever it is, set your goals, milestones and deadlines. It’s important that you’re driven to reach your learning goal, so ensure there are incentives and consequences (without them you run the risk of not meeting them).
This is just one example of how you could apply Accelerated Learning to an area of coding, but it could be applied to learning almost any programming language or technology. Another added bonus to consider, Tech is constantly evolving, so as a programmer – beginner or advanced – you’re committing to becoming a lifelong learner. By mastering a method like Accelerated Learning, think of how rapidly you could expand your skills set!