How our developers learned React Native
We’d just received a great offer from a big new client! Exciting news, but the client was new, and there were some technologies that our programmers hadn’t yet mastered.
The next step was to find the best way to educate our developers. Feeling that a mixture of fun and games was the best way forward, we came up with a React Native Programming Challenge.
In this post, you’ll discover how we organized the learning process, what we got from it, and why we recommend that you try this method within your own strategy for learning.
What we did differently
It was imperative to improve the knowledge of our programmers. The most straightforward way to achieve this was probably to pay for a course in the hope that they’d complete it and implement the new knowledge smartly. You know how this usually goes; a lot of bored faces and little or no effective results.
Instead of going down this standard route, we decided to make learning fun, and we’re pretty sure that we did just that. People are known to enjoy a challenge, and it’s a good way to get them motivated, so that’s exactly what we did: we challenged them to make a real app!
What was the fundamental purpose of this challenge?
While our main aim was to increase understanding of the React Native platform among developers, there were other useful outcomes: strengthening team spirit; training our fellow devs in how to manage their time and practice cooperation; learning how to be independent while working in a team.
Our approach and flow - simple steps and rules
We organised our React Native Challenge with everything arranged in the style of a game: there were rules, scores, and the goal of creating a simple React Native app.
We introduced participants to the concept and the rules:
Developers were relieved of all other obligations so that they might invest themselves fully in the Challenge
We provided them with an app design for the Challenge.
They were allowed to use courses and tutorials, or to consult each other in the course of solving various problems
In the event that they encountered problems that could not be solved together, they had the right to consult a team lead, who was also charged with supervising the overall process
Points could be gained for behaving in certain ways, and the person with the best final score would be our winner!
Although the game was competitive in nature, we did not want participants to focus only on who would write better code, or who would do it faster. Through positive reinforcement, we wanted to encourage the team to collaborate, and to overcome their fear of asking for help where it was needed.
Our approach was intended to demonstrate that it’s not terrible to make a mistake, while at the same time highlighting the importance of testing everything that you do.
With that in mind, we developed the following scoring system:
They got one point if they asked a colleague for help - the idea was to motivate them to ask each other for help in order to dissolve any stigma that might surround such requests
They got two points for helping a colleague - in a similar way to the rule above, this should motivate them to cooperate, talk, and help each other out
They got 3 points for finding a solution that others implemented - this was our way of motivating them to be as proactive as possible in finding the best solution and sharing it with the team
In the end, each app was QA tested and for every bug, one point was deducted from the Developer’s score - we wanted to stimulate our Developers to understand the importance of testing your own code, and every feature that’s developed.
What have we achieved?
Through this process, we have:
Successfully mastered the technology
Improved cooperation between employees
Developed organizational skills
Produced a fully functional application
Prepared for a new project
And, last but not least, we had fun throughout!
Furthermore, there was a bonus outcome: in the course of this challenge we came up with an idea for our own product, which we’ve already started to develop!
Games and competitions can increase motivation and make the learning process easier, more enjoyable and faster. With that in mind, we suggest you try our Challenge in your own company (or create one to try with friends) and see the results for yourself.
Trust us on this, and you’ll see that fun and learning go hand in hand