Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Woe is me...the lament of the self-taught VBA programmer

The Issue

While being self-taught has the advantage of learning what I need to know when I need to know it, there are two distinct disadvantages to the process.
  • The retention level is low.  Researching how to accomplish a task then mimicking or applying it on-the-fly is not "learning".  Classes and training programs are built with an eye on what will be needed in the future, how people learn, and how people retain what they learn.  There is repetition and testing, as well as using building blocks: First learn X because it will help you understand Y.
  • Forest and Trees Syndrome slows learning. When focused on a specific objective, what is often missed is how that relates to what was learned earlier
Yes, that's a natural outcome of the retention level bullet's last sentence.  These two bullets are different views of the process.

Hey!  It's a forest!

After a couple of years of programming in VBA, I've built in my head an architecture of objects and learning based on these groups is:

The first group is hierarchical
  • Application
  • Workbooks
  • Worksheets
The second group are things in a worksheet
  • Cells
  • Ranges
  • Tables
Third are things relative to group 2
  • Values v. Formulas
  • Excel Functions
  • Formats
  • Names
Fourth: things on a worksheet
  • Controls
  • Graphs
  • Pictures
  • Comments