date icon April 7, 2020

Debunking the myths of the digital learning experience

CEO & Founder at CodeOp

Location, location, location; The right place at the right time; Everything in its right place; A woman’s place is in the home (Remember this saying? Ugh) etcetera, etcetera. There’ve been numerous sayings created about location as playing an important part in our day-to-day lives, and being a key factor of the human experience. But in a modern, ever-changing world ruled by code, location is no longer everything.

Access to online education—especially learning to code—has grown so much over the last decade and continues to evolve. Yet, people still worry over the differences between in-person and online educational experiences, often placing the former over the latter without all the information.

We wanted to break down some of the biggest myths surrounding the digital learning experience and show just how beneficial (and varied) online coding bootcamps can be. Here are the top four myths about learning to code online, debunked.

Myth 1: Online courses for coding and data analytics don’t prepare you for a career in tech as well as in-person bootcamps.

Reality: In fact, one of the biggest benefits of learning to code via online courses is that it provides the type of environment that will prepare students for the realities of a career in the tech space.

In a student’s learning journey we aim to strike a balance between on the one hand encouraging our students to find answers to their questions or problems independently, and on the other, helping and guiding them when we see it will enhance their learning process.

With remote learning it’s easier to give students the time to learn how to learn and tackle coding tasks independently. This allows them to develop their information literacy skills. They can build on their ability to identify what it is they don’t understand or need to learn more about, with opportunities to go out and retrieve and evaluate the available information online and use this information to solve their problem. Add to this the benefits gained from using necessary tools such as slack, zoom and trello when you’re learning digitally, all of which are employed everyday in the inherently non-physical world of tech.

These are key skills that they’ll need to use day-to-day in their future tech careers.

Myth 2: With online learning there’s limited social interaction with students and no community to share your experience with.

Reality: Of course, when an entire cohort of students takes in new lectures and tackles activities side by side, there’s a certain camaraderie that builds. Lunch and coffee breaks become opportunities to share experiences, exchange tips and share frustrations. Bonding moments such as these aren’t as inherent in the online experience, but you can be intentional in building them into the program.

At CodeOp, we’ve developed a strong online community of students, teachers, and graduates from over 75 countries. Our students set up events and channels such as social beers or recipe sharing, giving them the chance to spend time with each other and regain those moments where they can share stories about their intense learning experience, and have a laugh at the same time.

Many of our graduates are actively involved in the community to help guide students through courses as well as offering up articles, bug problems or even asking for feedback from current students on various projects they’re working on. Having online communities like this benefits everyone as it makes connecting to people worldwide much easier and opens doors to speakers and mentors. The ease, utility and timelessness of communication the online space presents translates well to creating an interactive, shared community experience.

online learning

Myth 3: Online courses are mostly self-guided, with limited access to teachers and little guidance.

Reality: There are many types of online courses designed in various ways. At CodeOp, we offer a guided program which differs from online courses that consist solely of pre-recorded lessons and pre-prepared activities.

We maintain the human element within our courses, with live online lectures and live activity reviews led by our instructors, as well as access to mentors online. Live lectures and activity reviews are also recorded so that students can re-consume any material they need at their own pace, as well as to counter any connectivity issues that may arise.

This means we provide a mix of synchronous and asynchronous learning.

One of the main differences between an entirely pre-recorded online course approach and our blended approach is the access to guidance. There’s nothing more frustrating when you’re trying to learn something new than being stuck on the same problem for hours. We operate our courses with mentors at-hand to help and assist our learners.

Our mentors can step in to help students get unblocked, either by asking some helpful questions, scanning their code with a fresh set of eyes, or offering a hint that could help get the learner unstuck. This allows for a much smoother learning experience and the ability to fast-track coding development.

Myth 4: There’s no flexibility in learning with online courses

Reality: One of the main differences in the blended approach to online learning is the flexibility it can provide. With our courses, we’re able to customize and adapt the learning experience and material to the needs of each of our groups of students.

We pride ourselves on keeping class sizes small and since we maintain live material in our course structure, we’re able to easily adapt the content of our activities to match the needs of our students.

Some examples of how we do this include:

  • Breaking into smaller groups and doing additional lectures or exercises to cover topics or concepts that some students may want additional support on
  • Offering 1:1 support going over past exercises or practicing new ones
  • Giving students the reigns and allowing them to practice live pair programming

A different approach to learning doesn’t mean a lesser approach. With a blended online learning experience like CodeOp’s, students have the opportunity to learn to code in ways that are demonstrably beneficial to their future careers, while still receiving guidance and support.

Check out our website for more info about our upcoming online courses and to learn more about CodeOp.

Author: Katrina Walker
CEO & Founder at CodeOp
Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, I relocated to South Europe in 2016 to explore the growing tech scene from a data science perspective. After working as a data scientist in both the public...
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