A couple years ago, there was no reason to ask how you should study: Attending classes in person was the only option available, so if you wanted to study—at a coding bootcamp, for instance—the choice had been made for you. Now, however, studying online has become an equally viable option in many cases. So which form to choose—and how to make the most of it?
For our flagship Web Development Bootcamp, the hybrid mode has actually become the most popular choice. This means that our students can study in-person when possible, while learning remotely when it suits them better. The main advantage here is the kind of flexibility that helps you take into account not only your overall situation and preferences, but also allows you to respond quickly to any unforeseen circumstances. In this day and age, this is a smart solution that will likely make sense for many, if not most.
This solution is also one that’s hassle-free: You don’t need to ask our permission to study online (or join us in person) on a given day. You simply come or log in and join the session from wherever you are.
As you might expect, the hybrid form of studying helps you experience the benefits of both worlds. But, as you may have correctly guessed, it also means that from time to time you will also experience the disadvantages of either form of learning. So let’s explore what these are:
Studying in person
One of the most obvious advantages of studying in person is face-to-face interaction with your fellow students, as well as with your instructors. This can have a very positive impact on your learning, especially if you are part of a group that is engaged and inquisitive.
For group work, interacting with your teammates while sharing physical space can be a very rewarding experience. Moreover, if the group is disciplined and respectful, this kind of setting can keep you from getting distracted, which will help you advance steadily towards accomplishing your objectives and goals.
Last but not least, while studying in person, you can make use of breaks/off-time to develop closer relationships with other students (think networking). This can bear fruit in the long term—whether for your professional career or personal life.
Naturally, studying in person also has certain downsides: It typically requires commuting, which can be time consuming. It also means having to get used to a new space, which may feel less personal than your home environment. And, especially if you are an introverted individual, in-class interaction and the constant presence of others even during your off-time may feel overwhelming.
How to make the most of in-person learning
- Arrive early enough before classes start. This will help you get set up in time and also grab a cup of coffee or tea.
- Make full use of in-class interaction with your instructors and fellow students. After all, in-person communication is a lot more efficient and personal than online forms of communication.
- Take regular breaks to let your mind rest. When working on a team project, you might feel like you need to keep going on end. What actually helps you is taking some time to stretch your legs, relax, and let your mind rest.
- If you tend to get overwhelmed in the presence of other people, take time out as needed. Don’t feel too bad about spending some time alone or getting some fresh air during your break.
During the last couple of years, studying online has become not only a viable option, but also a preferred alternative for some people. Perhaps you are one of them—because it allows you to organize your time more flexibly and to work from the comfort of your own home.
There are other reasons why you might choose to study online: Maybe relocation is not really an option for you and you cannot afford to commute due to your financial situation or family circumstances. You may also benefit from a quieter environment if you are the type of person who needs more time with their thoughts.
Finally, studying online can help you prepare for a job that entails remote work, as many do these days. If you can figure out how to make it work for you and if you get used to working with all the different tools and platforms that make studying or working remotely possible, this can also help your future career.
Of course, some people will find it a lot harder to get used to studying online: They might find themselves struggling with self-discipline or motivation when left on their own. And one needs to also take into account the need for a good laptop and stable internet connection when studying online.
How to make the most of studying online
- Do not wait until the last minute to sign on. It is important that you can transition mentally from “resting” to “studying”, so give yourself the time needed.
- Create a learning environment. Whether or not you have a separate space to do your studying, you can always transform what you have into an environment that facilitates learning. Get rid of clutter and distractions. Think of what helps you keep going—a minimalistic setup, a comfy chair, a constant supply of tea, or an unobstructed view of the sky? Make sure you have what you need.
- Get a second screen. This is a game-changer when studying online! It allows you to run the virtual session on one of your screens while working on the individual exercises on your other screen instead of having to switch back-and-forth between the two or trying to fit them both on your laptop screen.
- Have your camera on as much as possible; interact with your instructors and fellow students often. You do not want to feel left out, but rather as an equally contributing and valued part of the team.
- Take regular breaks to prevent eye strain and loss of attention. Staring at your computer screen (or two) all day long can take its toll, so think of your health before it catches up with you.
All in all, regardless of which option you choose, keep in mind the following:
- Have a clear goal in mind. Identify your expectations as well as the goals you would like to achieve. This will help you remain focused throughout the course, even when the going gets tough.
- Ask for clarification or help when you need it. Just like in any learning environment, it is expected that you will have questions and your instructors will be happy to help you. But they cannot help you unless you approach them and tell them what it is that you are struggling with. So when in doubt, do not hesitate to ask.
- Be self-disciplined. Depending on your personality, this can be more or less of a challenge. Remain committed to your goal and work your way to it step by step. There is no other way.
- Allocate your most productive time to challenging tasks. It may seem like you are making more progress when you get a lot of little things done. But what about the elephant in the room that you have been meaning to address for a week, two, a month? Learn to challenge yourself with tasks that seem to offer nothing more than frustration. You might learn that when you do them first, while your mind is still fresh, they do not seem as daunting. And over time, you will build up resilience and develop a sense of pride in your work.
- Maintain a healthy balance. Whether you are studying or working, take time to rest and recover. Your body and mind need some downtime to do “maintenance”. Eat well, drink plenty of fluids, and develop a good sleep routine. Make sure to do some form of exercise to keep your body in good shape. (This helps your mental well-being, too!) And do not deprive yourself of the things you love—spend time with friends or family, pick up a book or watch a movie, do some gardening or cosplay. Do what you love so you can keep going!