There is a plethora of resources available for one to pick up programming; these include online coding schools like Code Academy and books like the “For Dummies” series. Readily accessible and often free of charge, these resources have achieved a wide appeal. Be that as it may, we have found that many, if not most, individuals who embark on a self-directed programming journey quit halfway. Even the ones who persevere end up losing their interests. While we salute and laud the efforts these individuals put in, we think that their learning and interest can be sustained if instructors were on hand. Sure, going for physical lessons cost a lot more, but ultimately we think that physical lessons are superior for the following reasons:
1) Content is Overwhelming
This is particularly relevant for someone who is clueless about programming in general. Common questions that pop up include ‘what programming language I should learn first?’ and ‘how do I make a mobile app?’ The literature available offer many different answers to these questions and can sometimes be overwhelming with vast amounts of information.
I am sure many of us have felt discouraged before when learning new because we are bombarded by information. This is often why parents send their children to extra tuition. In the same vein, the presence of professionals having themselves gone through a learning troubleshooting process could point newbies in the right direction.
Without the guidance of a professional, people interested in programming may also be blinded their own ambitions and learn coding in a non-systematic way. For example, like mentioned earlier, many may be enticed by resources promising to teach mobile app development in a short span of time. Unfortunately, we think this would be the erroneous way to approach programming because without the foundations of computational thinking, UI/UX design and other pillars of programming knowledge, the mobile apps developed would be mediocre at best.
2) You do not think like a programmer
Online coding schools are guilty of not teaching application-based coding; we find that they merely teach enrolled students to regurgitate syntax. We think this is an inherent limitation of online learning where without instructors, application-based learning is limited in that enrolled students cannot be given feedback on how to improve their code when exercises are given.
Books likewise are limited in providing exercises with which one can apply the coding they have learnt to various situations. As a result, the student here merely learns to rehash syntax.
Computational thinking is the bedrock of programming and the best way it is borne out is in application-based learning. teachers here have an important role in setting realistic problems for children to solve while at the same time, providing guidance to them when they hit a wall.
By nurturing a programmer mind-set, students will then develop the flexibility and adaptability of coding knowledge to troubleshoot and tackle the many obstacles they will face in the future.
3) Collaborative Learning & Motivation
Learning alone can be, well, lonely and discouraging. Having someone else to learn programming with could on the other hand be motivating. Without the physical space of a classroom, online coding schools are, hence, not ideal in facilitating collaborative learning.
Instructors can be an important source of information, but often overlooked are the power of classmates who can also help to reinforce one’s learning. When working collaboratively, a friend might face an issue we might not and vice versa; in the process of troubleshooting solutions for each other, we improve our fortes as well as improve in areas we are not so good at.
Here, at Hackwagon Academy, we have our own pedagogy in which online projects assigned require students to work with each other; while they do this, they will receive real time feedback from our instructors. This is us maximising collaborative learning opportunities.
While we acknowledge the benevolence of free online lessons, we think the biggest trade off to choosing this option is time. I know for certain that I always procrastinate when I learn things on my own because of the distractions around me.
Full-time working adults unfortunately do not have the luxury of time that I have, and as such, we think the conduciveness of the classroom, the presence of quality instructors and a well-structured syllabus would best expedite their programming process.
Hackwagon’s courses are structured with the above points in mind. Our streamlined curriculums will leave no stone unturned but at the same time ensure you achieve fundamental understanding of the different components of web development and data science. The classroom setting with fellow classmates and instructors will also help to speed up the learning process should you face an obstacle. Overall, we assure you that if you are time-strapped, there is no better place to learn programming but at Hackwagon.
On this note:
Should you have any queries about our newly launched web development and data science bootcamps or camps, do email us at [email protected]
Written by Joshua Chan, Intern, Early Coders Academy