torsdag den 24. september 2015

Multiple-choice anti patterns, learning patterns or why I love GOTO

Here are some of the known anti patterns or things to avoid when doing multiple choice questionnaires or tests:
  • Do not mention parts of the question in the answer.
  • Do not have one answer with long explaining text.
  • Design answer combinations to avoid lucky-as-a-monkey winners.
  • Do not use multiple choice tests :-)
The anti patterns above can actually be used to pass poorly designed multiple choice exams!
Unfortunately the ones in tech knows these anti patterns, so they will not do the trick here. I really hate certifications. At best they only give you level 2 (out of 5) level knowledge of a subject. 
So what to do if you want to learn new stuff? It depends on your personal learning strategies. Personally I prefer:
  • Use it to learn it. I cannot learn to program in a new programming language by listening to a teacher or by reading a book alone. I have to get my hands dirty and try new language constructs etc.
  • Teach it to learn it. When you explain stuff using your own words you learn it yourself.
  • Study it hard to learn. I used to be good at that in university. But it seems harder with an older brain, a family and the ability to really deep dive into something is rusting.
Hmm, this was supposed to be a GOTO conference sales speech :-) I would not say, that I haven't learned anything from attending JAOO/GOTO. Here the training sessions have been the best. What I most love about GOTO, is the inspiration and the networking. 

So, the main conference is good at giving you hints when choosing leading edge technologies. Hints to other ways of working. Great stories told by interesting Key Note speakers. It also is a unique opportunity to meet old and possibly future colleagues.

At this years GOTO Cph I'm actually hosting two tracks. The Testing track and the Drones and Robotics track.

But let us get back to the wrong way to do multiple choice tests. Below are some of examples of really bad multiple-choice tests. Can you identify the before-mentioned anti-patterns? Actually I think there are a lot of other bad questionnaire patterns and some of them might be hidden in the examples below (including bad english):

TDD is a known tool in software testing and development but what does it stand for?

a) Tool Driven Development
b) Test Driven Devlopment
c) Totally-awesom Driven Development
d) Debug Driven Development

What is pair programming good for?

a) Getting things done quickly
b) Ensuring team communication
c) Pair programming is actually good for a lot of stuff. If your team does not do pair programming at least 2 hours a day, you have an unhealthy team. //FAIL: long answer = right answer

Quick test: //FAIL: 1) Bi-ased questions, 2) Monkey-answer-machine will win by identifiying an obvious pattern and answer good good good OR bad bad bad

Is test driven development good or bad?
a) good 
b) bad

Is pair-programming good or bad?
a) good
b) bad

Is design-patterns good or bad?
a) good
b) bad

Does the picture below illustrate
a) The meaning of life?
b) Proportions and perspectives?
C) One of the most popular art pieces in Esbjerg?

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