4: GET TO KNOW THE COMMUNITY
You are not alone!
One of the most common reasons behind giving up with a course is the lack of support. You might not be actively looking for it, but it helps so much when you get stuck or face other problems.
Most online courses have a great community of current students, instructors, and alumni to catch you when you fall. For example, Udemy has a discussion forum for each course, freeCodeCamp has a very close community and a Facebook group you can join, and Team Treehouse has an open discussion forum where you will find a helpful community to support you.
Once you are nearing the end of your course, head back to the forums and see if you could help someone who is just starting out in return!
5: “MEET” YOUR INSTRUCTOR
Any online course is only as good as its instructor. In addition to their skills and expertise, their teaching style also needs to fit your preferences. It’s nothing personal, but sometimes an instructor might talk too quickly or not clearly enough for someone who doesn’t speak English as their first language, for example.
If you are planning to pay for an online course, see if you can watch a couple of preview videos for free before purchasing anything. This allows you to see whether you like the instructor enough to spend hour after hour listening to them.
Remember: you are learning new things, so you really need to understand the instructor and feel comfortable with their teaching style. I personally appreciate an instructor who is focused, structured, and simply cuts to the chase.
6: PICK A COURSE WITH AN APPROACH YOU LIKE
All of us have different ways of learning. You might prefer quizzes and video lectures, while I’m more into learning by reading and building bigger projects. Perhaps you need some more guidance with a new coding topic? In that case, go for an online course that offers a closer contact with the instructor or TA’s.
Simply identify your learning style and go for a course that uses teaching methods best suited for your preferences. Whatever they are, I would always recommend courses with lots of quizzes, coding challenges, and real-world projects included. There is no better way to understand what you are learning than applying your new skills to practical projects of your own.