I prefer a mix of both. Curiously, I find the harder subjects are easier for me to learn by making. Simply taking an example and learn by breaking it, then fixing what I broke has produced some quick results with sustained retention. This is then back filled by reading and expanding the example into the larger experience.
Code along classes have a place in this as well. Usually after the initial break fix cycle. Concurrently, there's a lot of additional reading on the subject.
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