There is a huge amount of online learning resources on the internet. Firstly, people gave a simple presentation. This is traditional, everybody knows. Later, they have introduced more practical sessions. These are video tutorials. As I think, play-by-play tries to mix these approaches and combines with interactions.


I am a lucky person. I have access to multiple online learning resources, including PluralSight. That is an online learning platform. If you are a programmer or your job is related to programming or IT, there is a good chance you will find useful learning materials here.

When I got my PluralSight subscription, I was so happy. I felt something like when I have first entered into a library in my childhood. In the first several months, I couldn’t find any technology that I wanted to learn and there was no online course here.

After completed several courses, I felt they are too theoretical – basically, I missed to get my hand dirty. And that was the time when I found some courses with the title ‘play-by-play’.

In sports, play-by-play means giving very detailed commentary on a sporting event. In online teaching, it means an interactive and practical teaching methodology when two persons are doing the presentation: there is a mentor who is an expert in the given area and the mentee who wants to learn. And the mentor explains the topic to his or her mentee.

Play-by-play: the format

As I wrote, there are two roles: the mentor and the mentee. Basically, the mentor introduces the topics and shows practical examples for the mentee. And you can follow them and repeat their actions.

What are the benefits?

That learning method has huge benefits for me. I feel I am literally in the classroom and sit near them. There is no large presentation with short demos. You get the feeling of a tutorial with getting the basic theoretically knowledge without watching boring slides.

And you can gain practical knowledge. As it plays a discussion, you can get small practical tips and you don’t feel that the trainer just rushes through a script.

Any drawbacks?

As I have mentioned before, play-by-play is one kind of mix of presenting practical and theoretical knowledge. And of course, you will get half of both of them. And it means, you have to get your hand dirty: if you want to learn the topic, you have to do your homework and complete the learning progress by reading through the related theoretical materials and try out the practical parts.

Getting the maximum benefits from a play-by-play course

For me, there is a script to feel happy about the outcome of walking through a play-by-play course

  • Start the course (of course)
  • On every hand lab part, pause the video and follow the course.
  • If I have any question, write it down to a list
  • When I have finished the course, check my question list
  • Go through the question list
    o If it is a theoretical question, read the related documentation, and try it out
    o If it is a practical question, try it out
    o Anyway, try it out.
  • That is the step when I check the table of contents and listen to every additional question that came into my mind. If I have a question, write it down into my question list
  • Repeat the last two steps until I have no question.
  • New optional step: write a blog post about the course.
  • Drink a beer.
Categories: Uncategorized


A remote senior software engineer.

1 Comment

Mauricio Taranto · February 12, 2019 at 8:09 pm

I thought you’d like this

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