Online courses all seem to share one flaw… To put it bluntly, they piss me off… Inconsistent information, outdated materials, poor explanation of key concepts, and, sometimes, patently incorrect information. But if I stop to think about it for a moment, it’s actually a feature.
I’ve taken advantage of a lot of online curriculum. I’ve been active at freeCodeCamp, Udemy, Udacity, Codecademy, Code School, Coursera, Khan Academy, and edX, just to name a few.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve typed a long, angry tirade about inconsistencies or impossible questions only to delete the whole thing as soon as I calm down. (Well, a few might have been submitted 😳)
It’s a problem, but it’s really a feature. If we coast through a course from beginning to end without ever needing another site, it might result in a smoother experience, but we wouldn’t learn much. It doesn’t matter how good the course is. We need other perspectives or more detailed information from multiple sources. More importantly, we need to learn how to find information without a guide. And, especially in IT, we need to be very good at sorting out conflicting information and correcting errors in code and documentation. Without these supporting skills, the learned skill can’t be effectively applied on the job.