The Philosophy Behind The Mastery Learning Process | Stories From The Hackery Ep. 8

Dec 9, 2016
Callan Morrison

In Episode 8 of Stories from The Hackery, Steve Brownlee, Lead Instructor here at NSS, speaks with John Wark about the philosophy behind the Mastery Learning Process and fostering a learning environment that produces productive, inquisitive developers. Steve takes a deep-dive into how both students and local employers contribute to the continuous evolution of the core curriculum.

Steve joined the team after 23 years in software development, driven by his passion for helping others improve their skills. He talks about how his experience “in the wild” drives many of the experiences students encounter at NSS. After all, you won’t be programming “from an ivory tower”. He discusses some of the techniques he uses to ensure students are best prepared to transition into their new career.

Steve answers some of the major questions surrounding Nashville Software School: What should a prospective student expect from NSS? What does NSS expect out of their students? What should an employer expect out of an NSS graduate?

To read more from Steve on teaching, see his recent personal blog post “Why I Love Teaching”.


1:36: A quick peek into Steve’s 35 years of experience in programming 
2:36: “What I enjoyed the most was actually helping my teammates become better…” 
3:59: Evolution of the NSS curriculum: How do we teach now? 
6:26: “How to effectively teach to the human brain” | Getting educated on education 
7:11: The Mastery Learning Process 
7:51: Consistent instructor-assessment of core critical skills 
8:36: The importance of self-assessment and the addition of curriculum tools to encourage that 
10:51: “The ones who got hands-on (education) transitioned faster to being a productive teammate” 
11:51: Real world experiences (inheriting code and handling spec changes) while in the educational setting 
13:07: Evolving the tech we teach based on local employer demands 
16:24: What could our employer partners expect from an NSS graduate? 
19:11: The value of learning how to be a good teammate 
21:15: Fostering self-learning

Topics: Learning, Hiring?