Learn From Teaching…
A few months ago we started doing some of our own in team training. Inspired by doing a couple of 10 minute demo’s for the ‘demos happen here’ competition I devised a new (well I’ve never done anything like it before) approach to training the guys in my team (and myself).
Nothing will reinforce your own knowledge about a subject that trying to teach someone else.
So with that in mind, Once per week we get together for 15 minutes only and one person has to deliver a 10 minute (ish) lesson about a specific topic. Instructions are to research on the internet, not just refer to MSDN which offers dry matter of fact details about the subjects, we want lessons from the real world.
A lesson should include (but is not limited to):-
- What is it
- Why is it cool…or useful
- Simple example of use (definately)
- Example of misuse (preferably)
- Alternatives (other techniques, features etc that could be used instead or in the case of a new language feature what had to be done previously)
- Any other ‘interesting’ things you discovered whilst researching the topic
- An IDE tip! Can be something native to VS2008 or can be something in resharper…
Topic can also be anything but must be of limited scope given the lesson cannot exceed 10 minutes, some of our topics have included Value vs Reference type, boxing and unboxing, auto properties, lessons specific to implementations in our project. I think it’s good to cover new ground but also what you would expect people to already understand….when you dig deeper into any topic you always find some hidden gems!
The guys enjoy it and come away from each lesson having learnt something. From management perspective it takes guaranteed less than 30 mins a week and their team is constantly improving as a result of it…plus they’ve not had to pay for expensive external training!
One more thing I would suggest, make sure you book in the time in your calenders weeks in advance, otherwise you’ll find that weeks pass when other priorities force the training to be put off till next week…and before you know it it’s Christmas!
Let me know if you try (or have tried) something similar, I’d be interested in hearing your results and opinions 🙂