Hackernoon logoHow Project-Based Learning Helping Me To Learn Web Development by@witahgeorjane

How Project-Based Learning Helping Me To Learn Web Development

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@witahgeorjaneWitah Georjane

CodeNewbie | Front End Dev | Girl Advocate in STEM

Learning a new skill can be challenging. But as humans, we always strive for better ways to be more effective and productive.
Coding means using a programming language to get the computer to behave as desired. To a tech geek, that sounds easy or doable, but to a code newbie like myself, I barely see how that can be possible.
Everyone starts as a newbie before becoming an expert. Those were the words my coding partner told me when we started working on our first project together.
It's being 4 months since I wrote my first line of code on Github. In the last 6 weeks of learning how to use HTML & CSS, I can build web sites from scratch and put basic functionalities in them. Project-Based Learning not only made that possible but much more effective and easy for me.
I will share my experience with Project-Based Learning and why you should go for it 100%. Before we start, let's get familiar with Project-Based Learning.
What is Project-Based Learning
According to Robert Schuetz,
Project-Based Learning   is an instructional approach designed to allow students to develop knowledge and skills through engaging projects set around challenges and problems they may face in the real world.
Keywords from the definition: "projects set around challenges and problems they may face in the real world".
After each new topic I learned, I worked on a real-life project that demonstrated that concept. For example, one of the very first topics I worked on was learning how to embed images and videos on a web page. I built the YouTube Video homepage to portray my understanding of the topic.
In my 6 weeks of using Project-Based Learning to learn how to code, I was able to work on so many interesting projects. Some of which included, making a replica of The Newsweek homepage, The New York Times article, Apple's homepage, and a whole lot of other amazing websites out there. (You can check out these projects on my Github account).
It was more than just projects, it was learning by doing. I learned that it is a series of projects that mark the careers of those that are masters in their fields rather than years of service to a specific organization.
Benefits of Project-Based Learning
  1. In addition to learning how to code, I was developing a mastery of 21st-century competencies such as critical thinking, teamwork, and problem-solving skills, along with the ability to communicate effectively with others. These soft skills are what makes every one of us stand out.
  2. Project-Based Learning increased my motivation to learn. I always looked forward to the next project I had to work on. It sometimes made me go ahead of myself by working on a project before studying the actual target material which is a very bad practice. A lesson I learned the hard way.
  3. Compared to short-term memorization strategies, which is what I had practiced earlier on during my studies in the last 5 years, Project-Based Learning provided me with an opportunity to engage deeply with the target content, in this case, HTML & CSS, bringing about a focus on long-term retention. I would sleep at night and dream of what I could have done differently on my project before submitting it. But this only made me understand the concepts more and kept me engaged.
Challenges of Project-Based Learning  
I could think of only one challenge during my Project-Based Learning experience. The ability to learn to accept uncertainty and discovery during the learning process. Just when I thought I had mastered a topic, I would come across a section of the project where I had no idea the next step to
take. I felt frustrated during these times but at the end of the day, I had to
learn how to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Microverse, a Good Place to Start
My coding journey started with this awesome online platform called Microverse. Microverse is a global school for remote software developers where students learn through remote pair programming using the Project-Based Learning approach.
During the Program, we learn using a very unique approach — by pair programming and collaborating with other students in real-time, just as we would with colleagues if we were part of a distributed team in a real company. This innovative and unique approach not only provides us with an accountability partner and a large, global network of support but also helps us learn remote workflows and acquire the collaboration and communication skills that are necessary to join a global company.
Pair-Programming which is learning to code with a partner was also a huge asset in my effective learning of HTML & CSS. My experience with my coding partners and stand up team members from countries around the world including Nigeria, Turkey, Ethiopia, and Pakistan just to name
a few would be a topic for another article.
If you want to join a communiy where you can undergo intense software engineering training then visit Microverse.org. If you are a code newbie, sign up for the pre-course where you'll learn (FOR FREE) web development and software engineering. If you're an advanced learner (you are comfortable with some JavaScript or any other programming language) then I would recommend the Fast Track Program (you will only pay once you finish the program and find a remote software engineering job).
Summary
Project-Based Learning is a great and effective way to learn new skills. It has so many advantages over other learning styles such as developing soft skills, increase our motivation to learn, and bring about a focus on long-term retention. A great way to start learning web development is through Microverse. It works for me or you can find what works for you through Career Karma.
Credits
Photo by Artsy Crafty from StockSnap
Photo by Freestocks.org from StockSnap
Photo by Kristin Hardwick from StockSnap

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