I can’t agree enough with the idea of applying what’s learned to a project of your own. From my own experience, and that of others I’ve helped to teach HTML, the info seems to “stick” if the results they’re after are something of their own design, rather than someone else’s, or by merely following along and “doing what I do”. It gives the entire project a more personal context, and is far more satisfying, I find, when completed, because “it’s yours”.
For example, about 1000 years ago, before CSS was a thing, and HTML 1.0 reigned, I was tasked with teaching 3 new employees how to create websites for the company. It would have been easy to use one of those ‘WYSIWYG’ type programs, even early versions of Dreamweaver, etc… But I wanted to be absolutely sure that they understood exactly what was going on under the hood. While it’s nice to have an app write the code for you, it’s important to be able to read and understand what it all means; also in the case of having to fix others’ work in the future,etc.
So, what I did was had each of them design out a very basic layout in Photoshop. Nothing elaborate or crazy… just a basic header, content area with a few sections maybe a couple columns, and a footer. Had them create an index page and at least 1 sub-page to be linked to/from.
Then I showed them how to get their exact layouts through HTML. They all agreed it stuck much better with them working on their own project, with their own specific results, than it had when they tried following tutorials, etc. After a little while, when I was confident they had a strong enough grasp on what was going on, I said “okay, it’s cool if you want to use Dreamweaver now”. They actually preferred to hand-code their sites, but only used DW to organize and upload/synchronize their sites/projects.
I’ve been out of the Web Design scene for a while now, many years, and have missed so much of the new tech to come along, though I’ve been peripherally aware of it.
So, I’m going through FCC to brush up on what I knew, and to get caught up with all the new things I’ve missed. I’m applying the learning to myself as I applied it to those 3 people years back - I’m designing my own personal blog/portfolio site, and when I’m ready I’ll apply what I learn here to it.