Online learning can sometimes feel intimidating — especially at first. It’s a different experience, and there’s a lot at stake as you work toward starting a new career as a software engineer, UX/UI designer, or data scientist.
But, you’re not alone. Our Online students are paired with an Educational Coach that’s a partner to them starting Day 1. We believe that you learn best in an inclusive and collaborative environment.
Flatiron’s Educational Coaches are here to help you get off to a great start, offering a warm welcome into the Flatiron Community and helping you develop the mindset and behaviors needed in order to be successful. For some students, this means being a source of encouragement, and for others helping to establish a calendar or study plan to stay on track while balancing life stuff or conflicting priorities.
They also offer guidance on how to best navigate the available resources, and create opportunities to connect with other students along the way.
Our Educational Coaches have shared their best practices for online learning to make your experience a successful one. Read on for their tips on how to succeed while learning online.
Commit to consistency
Consistency is the key to success, and it’s especially true when learning online. “Consistency requires a commitment to building and keeping good habits like coding daily and engaging with the community regularly,” says Tana G., an Educational Coach at Flatiron School.
Tana recommends spending time identifying what you want your habits to be. Figure out if you learn best in the morning or night. If you want to have your weekends free, for example, that means busier weekdays. Once you find what is working for you, keep doing that.
Find a plan that helps you to manage your priorities and find a balance and keep doing it every day. Don’t code in the morning one day and then code at night the next. If you like coding in the morning, keep doing that throughout the program. It’s really about consistency.
Next, create an environment that sets you up for success. Arrange your schedule so you’re spending time with friends and family, coding daily, and completing priorities. By keeping it consistent, you can plan for any surprises. You can learn how to create a schedule and establish priorities from our alumni.
Your fellow students are working through the same material as you. Lean on one another if you’re stuck.
Cultivate a growth mindset
Learn how to love learning. The thought of spending hours learning to code should excite you. You’re going to a coding bootcamp because you want to change your life. That’s exciting and you should take that energy into every lesson.
Why did you want to go to a coding bootcamp? That motivation should be the fuel you use to succeed. It’ll also help ignite your passion to learn because you’re creating a personal connection to code.
It’s easy to celebrate the big milestones in learning, like creating an app, but a lifelong learner also embraces mastering the fundamentals. You have to crawl before you walk, after all.
Find your routine
Consistency and a routine go hand-in-hand. You might think, since you’ve spent a few years in a classroom, that you can easily transition to learning online. But that’s certainly not the case, Tana says. There will be an adjustment period that will be easier to manage with a routine. “Be flexible and patient with yourself until you find that learning sweet spot,” says Tana. “Maybe it’s working from a coffee shop, or using a Pomodoro timer. Maybe you need a checklist each day of things you want to accomplish.”
Keep trying new things until you find what works for you. It could be a calendar where you block time for specific priorities. A journal could be handy or some noise-canceling headphones.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
You’re a student and you’re not expected to know everything before a coding bootcamp. Ask for help when you’re stuck and reach out to others. “Our most successful students are the ones really engaged in the learning community — who go to study groups, post on Slack, attend campus events or meet-ups when possible,” Talia Salzberg Horowitz, an Educational Coach, says.
Our Learn.co educational platform has built-in support tools. Our Ask A Question connects you with Technical Coaches in real-time. Learn.co also streamlines the portfolio process by pushing all of your code directly to Github.
Pair programming is a great way to learn because you’re collaborating and forming a connection as you code. Sometimes, you’ll be the one who’s following your partner’s lead and sometimes you’ll lead. These skills are crucial in your career and will help you grow as a developer.
Charles Poladian is a copywriter for Flatiron School. He previously worked as a journalist and his work has appeared in the International Business Times and Mashable. Charles currently lives in Brooklyn.