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Software Tools for Automated Learning

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Deep dive session facilitated by Adam Sroka

Blending concepts from XP, continuous delivery and Lean Startup, this session will explore just how quickly people can learn using rapid feedback cycles in software development.

TDD works because we create small experiments of the general form, "do some behavior and validate the result," and then adjust course rapidly in response to information we get from the tests and the code, steering towards an optimally simple and behaviorally correct solution. However, Lean teaches us that this approach works generally for anything we want to improve.

For example, in TDD tests allow us to focus on the design of the code while giving us feedback any time a change we makes breaks the behavior we expect. However, there are other tools that can help us get feedback about specific aspects of our code and/or design. We can even move beyond the code to validating how changes effect things like cost, performance, customer behavior, or pretty much anything that we can measure.

This won't be like any coding dojo you may have attended before; we'll employ open source tools to inspect the things we are doing and get rapid feedback about them. Then we'll see how different kinds of feedback allow us to optimize different aspects of our own behavior for optimal learning.