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The Five Pillars of Learning: Community & Mentorship

The Five Pillars of Learning: Community & Mentorship

Students have long sought knowledge from instructors, teachers and experts. Until recently, however, this has meant face-to-face interaction, either one-on-one or in a classroom setting. Nowadays, though, you can learn new skills quickly and easily at your own pace -- when and where it’s convenient for you.

As the most-visited online learn-to-code platform, SoloLearn is thoughtful and rigorous about how its courses and other resources are designed and structured to offer the best learning experience. To do that, we base our approach around five core pillars. Each of these pillars is grounded in the latest in educational science and research -- though they share roots in traditional classroom learning environments. In this series of articles, we’ll explore each of these five pillars, how they compare to more traditional educational components, and how you can use them to get the most out of your learning experience with SoloLearn.

The first of the five pillars is Community. In this article, you’ll learn why having a supportive group of other learners can help you to get more out of your educational experience.

The Importance of Mentorship in Learning 

Mentorship has been an important part of higher education and professional development for centuries. In ancient Greece and Rome, students of the great philosophers would “sit at the feet” of their instructors to receive personal, one-on-one training.

In more modern times, mentorship from professors, teaching assistants and fellow students is a key part of the learning experience at college or university. Having a mentor can help you to accelerate your learning in a few different ways.

Mentors Can Provide Individual Instruction 

Each of us have different experiences, learning styles, and ways of thinking. So the way that something is explained to us by a professor or in a textbook isn’t always the best way for us to learn it. A mentor can help you to bridge that gap by re-explaining something in a way that is more understandable to you. They can also help you to understand the practical application of what you’ve learned, which can help you to retain the information better and understand it more fully.

Mentors Can Give You Accountability 

Having a mentor can help to provide you some accountability as you learn. While it’s ultimately up to you to motivate yourself and stay on the right track, it can be easy to get distracted from your studies. With a mentor, you might schedule regular check-ins and study sessions. These milestones can help to keep you motivated and focused on your education.

Mentors Can Help You Stay Positive and Keep Learning 

A good mentor will also provide you with plenty of encouragement and positivity along the way. Furthering your education can be a struggle sometimes, and having that extra support could be the difference between giving up and continuing on. Having a personal connection with a mentor can give you the support you need to keep going when you feel like you’ve hit a wall or are struggling in your studies.

Finding and making use of a mentor can be a big step forward in your education. But for most online learners, opportunities for connections and mentorships are limited. How can you get the same benefits when you’re learning online?

Why The Community Is Central To SoloLearn 

SoloLearn’s community is one of the central pillars of our learning philosophy. In the SoloLearn forums, you can interact with other learners to ask and answer questions about the coding courses you’re taking. Each lesson links to a specific area in the forum, where you can find past questions and answers as well. All of these one-on-one interactions can help you on your learn-to-code journey.

The Community Can Provide One-on-One Instruction 

If you’ve gotten stuck on a lesson, you can quickly hop over to the Q&A discussion board for that lesson to ask questions about it. You can also ask general questions about coding, questions about starting a software engineering career, or anything else that might help you in your learning experience. Other learners who may be further along in their journey can help you by answering questions -- and you can give back to the community by answering questions yourself.

The Community Can Give You Accountability 

Goal-setting and accountability can help you to reach your learning goals faster and with fewer distractions. This is especially important in a self-paced learning environment. With no teachers watching over your progress, it can be easy to get off-track. That’s where the community comes in. By publicly stating a learning goal -- and having others join you on that goal -- it can help you to make progress even faster and keep your goals in mind.

The Community Can Help You Stay Positive and Keep Learning 

Even at the best of times, learning a new skill set is a challenge. It can be even more difficult when you run into something that you’re having trouble understanding. Sadly, it’s at this point that many learners simply give up. But with a supportive community behind you, a bit of positivity and encouragement might be just what you need to keep going.

Having trouble getting past a certain lesson or mastering a particular skill? Why not turn to the community and make a post about it? You might get the explanation you need to understand -- and the positivity you need to keep learning.

How The SoloLearn Community Compares to Mentorship 

Of course an online community isn’t quite the same thing as a one-on-one mentorship at a college or university. But an online community of learners offers several advantages over traditional mentorship.

The Community is Diverse 

The SoloLearn community is made up of learners from all over the world, of different ages, backgrounds, and experiences. This means you have access to a wide range of information and individuals who want to help you understand what you’re learning, as opposed to just one. These resources can help you to learn and retain more information more quickly.

The Community is Focused 

Everyone in the SoloLearn community is focused on learning how to code -- and on helping each other to do that. You’ll find a supportive community that’s ready to help you get through the challenges you face -- whether that’s understanding if-then statements in Python or how variables work in Javascript.

The Community is Available Anytime - and Free 

The best part of all is that all of this experience and support is available to you any time, anywhere, and totally free of charge. Unlike a mentor, which may only be available an hour or two per week, the community is available to you 24/7 from your computer or mobile device. Better yet, it’s completely free to browse, ask questions, and post answers in the community.

Next Steps: Community 

If you haven’t done so already, check out the SoloLearn Q&A community. Post a question, or find someone who needs help and answer theirs. By doing so, you’ll be able to contribute to one of the pillars that makes SoloLearn what it is.

Another one of SoloLearn’s core pillars is Tools and Environment. In the next article in this series, we’ll see how having the right tools to learn and practice anywhere gives you an advantage in your learn-to-code journey.