Online learning is becoming a go-to for many tech pros, as well as people who want to get into tech. But learning at your own pace can be tricky.
It’s also easy to fail. Even if you pay a few bucks for a course, it’s really easy to stop focusing when you’re faced with the distractions of day-to-day life. Eventually, you may just stop trying, no matter how daunting the prospect of failure.
Fortunately, we’ve got some tips to keep you on the right track and learning new things!
Online Learning Still Needs a Classroom
You should set aside space that’s just for learning, just as you would for working. It doesn’t have to be an entire room in your home, but pick a space that helps you focus.
It could be the end of the breakfast bar in your kitchen, or a favorite chair. Maybe it’s sitting on the floor while leaning against your bed. Wherever you choose to learn, be diligent about keeping that space just for your online coursework.
Time Is Essential
Once you have some space carved out, find time to dedicate to learning your new craft.
Consider what schedule will work best for you, and stick to it. Like a dedicated space, choosing a learning schedule will help things feel more formal, and get you in the right state of mind to learn.
You don’t have to carve out hours on-end, either. Even if you pick 20-30 minutes every night after work, it’s a step in the right direction. Just be sure to stick to your habit!
Find the Right Course
The internet is full of places to learn new things. You can choose a more formal path, such as Udacity courses, or a casual experience along the lines of Udemy.
Whatever you choose, make sure it works for you. Do your research to see which options are popular, but don’t feel as though you have to take the course that works for 70 percent of people in one Reddit thread.
Indeed, be a tourist! Check out previews, and read up on various curriculums. Even if you’re learning a complex concept such as the Java programming language, take the time to find the course that resonates with you.
Learn to be Resourceful (and Enjoy Feeling Dumb)
If you’re following our guidelines, you’re in your private learning space, and you’ve set time aside with a course you think you’re going to love. And yet… you might feel like an idiot.
This is why online learning is so great. You’re able to feel dumb all by yourself! If a concept sails over your head, just watch the video again! You don’t have to worry about anyone watching you.
If you don’t understand a concept as taught in your learning module of choice, find articles on other sites that can help. Someone more knowledgeable about the topic has likely written about it. YouTube may have the answer you’re looking for, too.
Stack Overflow is also a good resource. Someone has likely asked a similar question to yours; plus, Stack Overflow’s new ‘be nice or else’ policy should help learners and those newer to tech feel comfortable asking questions.
Just remember that it’s okay not to know, and it’s smarter to find an explanation that works for you rather than shrugging your shoulders and moving on. You’re in your safe learning space – nothing can hurt you.
If you’re learning to code, we suggest using multiple monitors.
You can dedicate one screen to reading or watching video, and the other to housing your IDE. It’s possible to learn using just one screen, but switching back and forth between apps is tedious.
You don’t need two proper monitors, either. Even watching the video on a phone or tablet can be beneficial, and reading an eBook is easy on mobile devices, as well.
We like using multiple monitors because it’s a useful way to multitask without opening and minimizing apps or swapping between desktops on your computer. You don’t have to pause a video when it’s time to code with the instructor, and it helps you learn faster – especially as your skills improve.