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Posted Thursday, November 14, 2013 9:27 AM
Old Hand

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I read the brief text describing the TED talk video on the video webpage, and paid careful attetion to the statement about 20 hours essentially equates to 45 minutes a day for a month. Rounding it to 1 hour for 30 days gives you 30 hours. If I stuck to something for 30 consecutive days (45mins to 1 hour), I think I'd have a good grasp of the material -- not an expert, but a useful foundation. I think I'd finally conquer how to interpret execution plans skillfully, master Profiler and server side traces, juggle a dozens of variables in SSIS... and so on. I wouldn't be attempting to learn all of these things at once, but choosing a topic and focusing my efforts on that singular subject.

Sean McCown (midnightdba.com), who happens to be a Powershell evangelist, wrote a really terrific article called "Nothing Beats Practice" (http://www.midnightdba.com/DBARant/?p=912. In the article he refers to "doing your 20s", which is all about repetition -- e.g., to learn how to perform backup/restore commands, repeat the process 20 times, everyday, for two weeks. By the end of two weeks, you'll likely remember the commands without thinking about them.

A researcher/author named Dr. John Medina studies the brain. One of his key principles is "Repeat to remember". To get something out of short term memory and into long term memory, repeat, repeat, repeat.

So, whether you spend 20 hours or 10,000 hours learning something, one of the key actions to be taken is repetition. Of course, physical performance can have its limitations -- for example, people who are of average height or less (i.e., less than 6ft) will probably never be able to slam-dunk a basketball into a regulation-height basketball rim --not even after 10,000 hours of practice. Barring these types of physical limitations, I still think that many, many subjects can be learned in a fairly short amount of time when the effort is diligent, purposeful, and frequently practiced -- along with enough sleep to have a brain capable of functioning for another day....



Post #1514357
Posted Thursday, November 14, 2013 9:59 AM
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The problem is not all sets of x hours of time are the same. If you can only spend five minutes at a time studying it is going to take a lot longer than 20 hours all together to really learn something in my experience.

If however I can spend four uninterrupted hours each day for a work week studying something I can learn quite a lot in 20 hours.
Post #1514368
Posted Thursday, November 14, 2013 10:01 AM


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jay-h (11/14/2013)
It is claimed that it takes a dog 500 tries to learn a trick ... at 5 tries /hour that works out to 100 hours. Seems about right. ;)


Horses learn in 2-3 reptitions. Or so my wife tells me. I'm amazed sometimes what she can teach them in an afternoon.

Course, the challenge is in getting them to understand what it is you need them to do.







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Post #1514370
Posted Thursday, November 14, 2013 10:04 AM


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peterzeke (11/14/2013)
I read the brief text describing the TED talk video on the video webpage, and paid careful attetion to the statement about 20 hours essentially equates to 45 minutes a day for a month. Rounding it to 1 hour for 30 days gives you 30 hours. If I stuck to something for 30 consecutive days (45mins to 1 hour), I think I'd have a good grasp of the material -- not an expert, but a useful foundation. I think I'd finally conquer how to interpret execution plans skillfully, master Profiler and server side traces, juggle a dozens of variables in SSIS... and so on. I wouldn't be attempting to learn all of these things at once, but choosing a topic and focusing my efforts on that singular subject.

Sean McCown (midnightdba.com), who happens to be a Powershell evangelist, wrote a really terrific article called "Nothing Beats Practice" (http://www.midnightdba.com/DBARant/?p=912. In the article he refers to "doing your 20s", which is all about repetition -- e.g., to learn how to perform backup/restore commands, repeat the process 20 times, everyday, for two weeks. By the end of two weeks, you'll likely remember the commands without thinking about them.

A researcher/author named Dr. John Medina studies the brain. One of his key principles is "Repeat to remember". To get something out of short term memory and into long term memory, repeat, repeat, repeat.

So, whether you spend 20 hours or 10,000 hours learning something, one of the key actions to be taken is repetition. Of course, physical performance can have its limitations -- for example, people who are of average height or less (i.e., less than 6ft) will probably never be able to slam-dunk a basketball into a regulation-height basketball rim --not even after 10,000 hours of practice. Barring these types of physical limitations, I still think that many, many subjects can be learned in a fairly short amount of time when the effort is diligent, purposeful, and frequently practiced -- along with enough sleep to have a brain capable of functioning for another day....


That's interesting. I might have to try that with Powershell. Spend some time repeating what I did the day or two before.







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Post #1514372
Posted Thursday, November 14, 2013 10:18 AM


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"Do you think you could learn something like Powershell in 20 hours?"

Depends, for me I would need a task that is to be done with Powershell. Then I would focus on completing that task. When said task is done does that mean I learned Powershell? Maybe not but at least I'd be able to add that to the list of tools I've used and I could say I know Powershell.

Or the ever popular saying, "I know enough to be dangerous"!
Post #1514380
Posted Thursday, November 14, 2013 10:25 AM


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"Do you think you could learn something like Powershell in 20 hours?"

I had to. However, I had about 10 years of experience with C# and .NET, and it was my 26th or 27th language.

I am not a PowerShell expert but I can use it, I think, with reasonable efficiency. If I have to.
Post #1514383
Posted Thursday, November 14, 2013 10:34 AM
Old Hand

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Steve Jones - SSC Editor (11/14/2013)
peterzeke (11/14/2013)
I read the brief text describing the TED talk video on the video webpage, and paid careful attetion to the statement about 20 hours essentially equates to 45 minutes a day for a month. Rounding it to 1 hour for 30 days gives you 30 hours. If I stuck to something for 30 consecutive days (45mins to 1 hour), I think I'd have a good grasp of the material -- not an expert, but a useful foundation. I think I'd finally conquer how to interpret execution plans skillfully, master Profiler and server side traces, juggle a dozens of variables in SSIS... and so on. I wouldn't be attempting to learn all of these things at once, but choosing a topic and focusing my efforts on that singular subject.

Sean McCown (midnightdba.com), who happens to be a Powershell evangelist, wrote a really terrific article called "Nothing Beats Practice" (http://www.midnightdba.com/DBARant/?p=912. In the article he refers to "doing your 20s", which is all about repetition -- e.g., to learn how to perform backup/restore commands, repeat the process 20 times, everyday, for two weeks. By the end of two weeks, you'll likely remember the commands without thinking about them.

A researcher/author named Dr. John Medina studies the brain. One of his key principles is "Repeat to remember". To get something out of short term memory and into long term memory, repeat, repeat, repeat.

So, whether you spend 20 hours or 10,000 hours learning something, one of the key actions to be taken is repetition. Of course, physical performance can have its limitations -- for example, people who are of average height or less (i.e., less than 6ft) will probably never be able to slam-dunk a basketball into a regulation-height basketball rim --not even after 10,000 hours of practice. Barring these types of physical limitations, I still think that many, many subjects can be learned in a fairly short amount of time when the effort is diligent, purposeful, and frequently practiced -- along with enough sleep to have a brain capable of functioning for another day....


That's interesting. I might have to try that with Powershell. Spend some time repeating what I did the day or two before.


Hi Steve:

I'd be surprised if you aren't familiar with Sean McCown (and his SQL-awesomesauce wife, Jen). I highly recommend Sean's article I linked to about "nothing beats practice". His recommendation is just great for anyone who is a beginner or a pro that wants to stay on top of their game.

By the way, Sean has a whole video series on Powershell on his website: http://midnightdba.itbookworm.com/Video/Admin#tabs-Powershell. I first came across MidnightDBA when I was looking for decent videos to explain SSIS --> only after I started watching his SSIS videos did it start to make sense to me. (I'd watched SSIS videos by other people, even professional made videos, and none of them made SSIS tangible to me the way Sean's presentations did.) I haven't watched Sean's powershell videos, however, but I imagine they'd be as useful as all of the rest of the videos provided on their site.

--Pete




Post #1514387
Posted Thursday, November 14, 2013 12:08 PM


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thanks. I have some videos to check out, and I'll add Sean's the list. For now I'm going through the book and want to see where that gets me.






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