I'm in process of selecting some training materials for our team. We mainly focus on C# (Silverlight and ASP.NET) I thought it would be a good idea to get some books (to keep us up to date) but also I ran into some websites that offer webcasts/workshops with annual subscriptions fees.

I much prefer following some video and actually trying out some code rather than reading C# bible, hence I liked the idea.

Has anyone had any experience with those video/webcasts/workshop learning? Are there any good ones out there?

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    Possible duplicate of a few of the "related" items coming up on the right. There are lots of training classes out there, and there should be enough reviews out there to help you. – Alger Aug 2 '11 at 20:56

Just as a blatant plug (as my book's already been mentioned :) I have a screencast series on C# with TekPub which you might find useful. They have a bunch of other .NET-related videos - as well as non-MS technologies.

In the interest of balance, I've also heard good things about Pluralsight's videos - but I haven't seen any myself.

  • $30 for 19 episodes seems fair to me (but I do ANYTHING I can to learn these days, so YMMV) I haven't watched this series, but will likely do so in the future. As with the PluralSight WPF series, Having a british speaker is always a plus :) BTW, that page should probably highlight how many episodes are avaialble, as well as how many minutes those episodes amount to – jlnorsworthy Aug 2 '11 at 23:58
  • very interesting, seems like good bunch of videos out there. thanks! – Luke Aug 3 '11 at 20:48

I disagree with you. Actually I think that is better to learn by reading and writing than by watching but, who cares? It doesn't matter. Learning depends so much on individuals abilities and preferences that at the end is near impossible to pick one of them that serves well to everyone. Some on them will be better by reading, other ones by watching and another ones by talking.

But, as far as programming. I think a book that you can actually read, go backward and forward with just one hand. Annotate and actually touch is better.

If you're going with C# I suggest you Jon Skeet's C# In Depth. It's simply perfect.

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    I agree with you on the fact that every person learns differently. Hence why we want to get books as well as webcast subscription. – Luke Aug 2 '11 at 21:05

I will admit upfront that I have not watched many webcasts and tutorial videos, so my experience comes from a limited selection. However, the fact that I have not watched terribly many of these is not entirely by accident. I've watched a few, and by and large they weren't very good. There were a couple of reasons, but the biggest were that, rather than being instructional videos on concepts and ideas, they were walkthroughs and screencasts of people doing tutorial coding by hand.

I learned nothing from them.

Introductory books, on the other hand, tend to provide you with the generic form of an idea before providing examples. And one of the things I like about learning to program from books is that I can't copy and paste it if it's in the book, on print, in ink. That might seem strange, but I feel like I actually internalize and remember things more when there's a tactile element to the process, and even transferring code onto my machine from the book helps with that.

I don't doubt for a moment that other people learn differently, and can learn better from webcasts than from books, but in my opinion, the amount and nature of what can be learned from a large portion of webcasts, screencasts, and other videos is not structured well to promote the best kind of learning.


Every person has a different learning preference, but two things might be true for most learning situations:

  1. You learn better through activity (do something actively, solve problems using your fresh knowledge)
  2. Changes of method during lessons keeps your attention high

A book and a webcast are equal in regard to the first point, but they differ in the second point: A webcast (or learning videos in general) can offer you a richer experience and a better technical platform for didactical presentations than a book. Whether the webcast makes use of it is a different matter. I have some great experience with learning videos that made heavy use of chapters, and allowed easy navigation for reference uses due to their excellent structuring of the information. Since they were not produced in the English language, I won't recommenend them here, but I am pretty sure there must something likewise for the much larger English-speaking market as well. The big drawback of learning videos in my eyes is that they tend to cover less details than a book.

For me a learning video is the preferred learning tool during the first steps, but for the deeper knowledge I'd always prefer books.

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