Progress Journals

Learning is hard. It’s easy to lose track of what we’ve achieved and only see how much we have yet to master. My mentee, however, found a simple and powerful way to build confidence and self-efficacy: progress journals.

January 27, 2023 · 3 min

Assessing Understanding with Unit tests

I’ve been thinking of ways I can encourage students to get knowledge out of their head and experiment. Both so I can give feedback and to get them in the habit of checking their own understanding. I think unit tests might be an effective tool.

January 20, 2023 · 4 min

Better Software Interviews with Defect Detection

I’ve sat through many a coding interview as both examiner and examinee. The experience is usually sub-par on either side.

June 12, 2022 · 7 min

Small Teaching Review

Small teaching is an engaging and practical condensation of learning research into an accessible read. The book is oriented toward teachers, but is meaningful for anyone who wants to learn more effectively or understand how to share ideas.

March 7, 2022 · 6 min

Key Dimensions of Control

Measurement – The types and amount of insights we extract on our students current understanding

February 12, 2021 · 2 min


I see programming as an extended application of problem solving, and problem solving is just a different view on self-learning. Encouraging self-learning makes a team skillful and robust.

February 12, 2021 · 2 min


I once worked at a startup where the developers were regularly ignored. Try as we might to bring in new perspectives and experts, everything was dismissed. It eventually fell apart with the entire team leaving. This is an example of climate, and a highly toxic one.

February 12, 2021 · 3 min

Motivation and Goals

I come from the world of startups. Companies with interesting products fail every day. Despite novel products, customers are disinterested and avoidant. In software, unit tests are widely acknowledged to be good practice. However, few developers write them. These two cases are prime examples of motivation failures.

February 12, 2021 · 2 min

Practice & Feedback

Repeatedly explaining some idea without perceived progress is frustrating for both the teacher and student. Ideas feel compelling and actionable, but remember, knowledge is both declarative and procedural. Thus, feedback and practice are two halves of one process. Feedback is not effective without an opportunity to practice.

February 12, 2021 · 2 min

Knowledge Organization

Think back to the first post on mastery. Expert blindspot is caused by information obvious to the master and imperceptible to the student, causing both sides to be baffled by the behavior of the other. This can be an issue with knowledge organization.

February 12, 2021 · 2 min