My number of blog posts in the last couple of months has definitely been a little lower than I like, but I have a pretty good reason.
I just got my first course published on Pluralsight!
The course is called Android Development for .NET Developers and it covers most of the basic knowledge you would need to go from knowing nothing about Android development to being able to create a fairly simple application and publish that application to the Android Market.
If you haven’t checked out Pluralsight, it is a really good site for a wide variety of developer training videos. They really managed to get some very good content on the site and there are videos on just about every .NET topic you can think of.
I have also really enjoyed working with the guys that run Pluralsight, they are all very friendly and very knowledgeable. Thanks to David Starr and Fritz Onion for all their help getting my course ready and published.
You never really learn something till you teach it
This simple truth became more apparent to me than ever during the process of making this course.
I thought I had a pretty good understanding of the Android fundamentals, having published a fairly complex application, PaceMaker.
What I became quickly aware of is that there is a huge difference between having knowledge and having understanding.
I equate knowledge as possessing a formula to be able to do something, but lacking knowing why or how to make modifications to the process.
Cooking provides an excellent example of this. There are many people in the world who know how to cook a large number of dishes. But many of these people only have the knowledge of cooking. They have a large collection of recipes which they can follow to produce the desired result.
A professional chef on the other hand, has a true understanding of cooking. This person might have knowledge of many recipes, but they also understand why the particular ingredients are used and can make modifications to those ingredients and steps. They may even create something without preset steps because they understand what they are doing, not just have knowledge about it.
It was great to have the experience of creating these videos because I was able to acquire an in-depth understanding of Android development, not just a knowledge of what to do.
If you ever have the opportunity to teach, I definitely recommend you take that opportunity. Even if you don’t think you are qualified to teach a subject, by the time you have prepared what you are going to teach, you will be qualified. Trial by fire perhaps, but well worth the outcome. Plus you’ll be helping others in the process.
Much harder than I thought
I do have to admit though, recording training videos is definitely much harder than I had originally anticipated.
In order to get 40 minutes of video, it might take 6 hours worth of work or even more depending on the prep work involved and how much editing after getting the raw footage.
I really expected that it would take about as much time as it takes to record something to produce that something, but I definitely learned that is not the case.
I often found that I had to draw a line and stop trying to refine a video because you can literally spend an unlimited amount of time editing and tweaking a video.
Another revelation that might be apparent to everyone else, but was quite an epiphany to me was that you can edit “umms” out of video very easily. You can’t even notice where they are cut out! My first video, I didn’t even realize I could edit anything, and I ended up taking like 50 cuts until I could get it right.
Overall though, great experience, lots of fun
I felt like I've been stretched in a different direction, as I had never done any video or audio recording before and had never really spent much time in a room talking to myself pretending to talk to other people, but it was a good kind of stretching.
I really actually enjoyed the process and I will definitely be doing more of this kind of work in the future. Probably going to take a bit of a break before I start my next course though. I want to make sure I take some time to get a good retrospective of the process and sharpen my saw a bit so my next videos can be even better.