Immersive Learning

Alright, week two down! We are going deeper into different languages and frameworks, and are primarily focused on JavaScript this week. I have found, personally, that JavaScript has a much higher learning curve than the more basic technologies we went over last week (surprise, surprise). Thus, it is extremely frustrating when going at this speed of learning and I don’t “get it” right away. That isn’t something I’m necessarily used to; I have always understood what I was taught with minimal trouble and effort put in on my part, but the bootcamp forces you to work really hard and put in extra hours to get to those lightbulb moments with the new languages.

During one of our morning warmups at the end of week two, some of us were expressing our frustrations about the learning curve with JS to the morning instructor, Jason, who happens to be a bootcamp graduate from two cohorts ago. He explained that we are essentially practicing “immersive learning” in the bootcamp, and proceeded to describe my frustrations and learning pattern from the past 10 days to a T. I thought this was a really interesting concept and wanted to write it all out here for future bootcamp students, using the analogy of learning a foreign language in a new country.

Watch and (try to) absorb

Imagine you don’t speak a word of Spanish, and you are plopped in a small town in Bolivia for 12 weeks, where that is the only language everybody there speaks. You aren’t going to really have any idea what they are saying when they talk to you, but your brain is going to be looking for patterns and similarities to the languages you do know while you listen. It will be absorbing all of this new gibberish as you move onto the next phase.

Watch and know what is happening

You still aren’t fluent in Spanish yet, but the gibberish that is Spanish is starting to be sorted out in your brain. After enough time of listening to the language, you might start to pull out bits and pieces of it and know that “hola” is said when somebody sees you for this first time, and “adios” is something people say when they leave.

Watch and understand what is happening

You have learned lots of words and phrases, and are able to have a basic conversation with somebody. You understand basic sentence structure, conjugations and have a decent vocabulary. Needless to say, you are gathering all of the building blocks to the language and are starting to put them together.

Language fluency

With the strong foundation you have now built, you can start fine-tuning your Spanish as you continue to be immersed in the language, continuing to grow your vocabulary and think in terms of the language, rather than always translating conversations in your head.

Immersive learning definitely seems like a lightning fast way to learn, albeit it can be frustrating until that thing clicks for you. Once Jason explained the general pattern to how your brain works throughout the bootcamp, I felt a lot better about myself and my abilities.

That’s my big thought of the week! Planning on doing a more technical blog post next week, so stay tuned!