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[create Chris Okasaki]: "I was amazed by how hard many people would work in the [TopCoder] Practice Rooms. I wished I could get my students to work half that hard! At first, I thought these people were motivated by the idea of doing better in the contest. [...] But then I noticed that many of the people working hard in the Practice Rooms competed only rarely, if at all. [...] Eventually, it dawned on me that the secret lay in the ease of running system tests. As teachers, we know that feedback is crucial to learning, and that quick feedback is better than slow feedback. These programmers were getting feedback within a few seconds, while they were still "in the moment". The experience of this was so powerful that it kept them coming back for more."
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