How to choose an online course

By Ingrid Amitricioaei25 Mar 2020
Reading time: 7 mins

What's the Difference Between Free Learning Tutorials, Online Training and Remote Training?

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Following the success of our Remote Training programme early this year, we wanted to clarify the difference between our training, free online tutorials and MOOCs.

To make sure you get the most out of any online course, we think it’s important to understand what are the options and where the value lies in each. This will help you make an informed decision about which one works best for you. So today we’ll be looking at the difference between remote training, free learning tutorials and MOOCs. First up, let’s look at free learning tutorials.

What are Free Learning Tutorials?

Free learning tutorials are a form of online training that anyone can access at any time. They usually consist of blog posts describing how to do something, and can even be accompanied by videos that can take you on a generic tour of your subject, or explain a specific feature of a topic.

These tutorials can act as a nice introduction to a subject like GraphQL and can get you up to speed on a topic by providing the basic knowledge you’ll need in a new area.

Furthermore, because these tutorials are readily available you can use them as a refresher for topics you haven’t touched on for a while.

Free Learning Tutorials often lack of structured content. You might find some introductions to different subjects or an explanation of a specific topic, but you'll rarely find a series of tutorials following an order that allows learning a subject from the beginning to the end.

If you want to learn an advanced subject, you need to know certain things before. For example, in order to learn design systems in React you need to know what is component-based CSS, and it’s easier to understand what that is if you know what components are. Therefore it makes sense to learn React basics first, then CSS-in-JS, and finally design systems, following all the steps in-between.

Another pain point of free online tutorials is that students can’t engage with the material or their tutors. There aren’t tasks to complete to find out how well you’ve learned something, and while some blogs do let you post comments and ask questions, this isn’t always the case.

Free online tutorials also don’t offer feedback. Feedback is about answering the questions that learners don’t know they should ask because they aren’t aware of them.

In conclusion, free learning resources are:

  • Good as an introduction to a new topic
  • Readily available
  • Free to access
  • Perfect for refreshing knowledge
  • Good for exploring a specific topic

On the other hand, they provide:

  • Little structured content
  • Little to no feedback or collaboration
  • Few credentials to earn
  • No networking opportunities

What are MOOCs?

A MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) is an online-only course that prides itself on its very wide reach and accessibility. Thousands of people can enjoy these lessons, learning the basic skills they need to code in a new language.

Unlike free online tutorials, MOOCs contain more engagement between students and tutors. For instance, some MOOCs offer group chats and even Q&A functionality.

Not only do MOOCs offer interactive elements, but they also offer structured content. The course allows students to learn a new topic in a logical way, where each new module or lesson builds upon the knowledge learned in the previous modules.

Some courses offer certificates for completion, with end-of-course assessments to ensure that you’ve learned the topic and new skill. This is a great opportunity to show management that you’ve completed a training course.

MOOCs are also a great way to provide the foundations for further knowledge development, such as through remote training.

But there are some limitations to MOOCs. Firstly, they offer limited feedback because MOOCs tutors are unable to identify knowledge areas in which students are lacking. Similarly, there is little collaboration, with students unable to explain to their peers what they think they have learned.

Finally, you have no accountability when you learn in a MOOC or free online tutorial. If you don’t do the work, no one will hold you accountable and your learning will stagnate as a result.

In conclusion, MOOCs:

  • Offer a solid introduction to a topic
  • Present structured content
  • Offer some credentials to earn
  • Offer interactive elements, like Q&As and Group Chat

However, they do have a few limitations, including:

  • Limited feedback
  • Limited collaboration
  • No accountability
  • Few networking opportunities

What Is Remote Training?

We can easily think of Remote Training like a normal in-person lecture, only done online using video-call tools.

Remote training is different from online tutorials and MOOCs, which are aimed at thousands of students. Instead, this training is live and often involves a limited number of students. The limited number means tutors can interact with students in real-time, so they can focus on areas where the latest cohort of students struggle most. Likewise, students can get the feedback they need to thrive.

It is also an environment in which you feel compelled to learn and progress. Working with others and having a closer relationship with your tutor means that you have the peer pressure students need to put the time in and do the work. The added benefit is that when your peers see your hard work pay off, they’ll remember - at a later point, those new connections you made could land you a dream job.

While in an online course the students must have the willpower to do the exercise, in remote training the group exercises make learning fun and naturally pull the student into active participation.

Remote training also offers practice tests that ensure you’ve learned the new skill adequately. On completion of these tests, students earn a credential to certify their new skill.

Free online tutorials and MOOCs provide a fantastic starting point for developers learning a new topic, but with remote training, they can cement and advance their new skills.

In conclusion, what can you get from Remote Training?

  • Gain the feedback you need to grow and learn
  • Work in a collaborative environment to develop skills
  • Earn credentials with practical tests
  • Benefit from a structured training designed to strengthen learning
  • Learn all the latest features with up-to-date content
  • Engaging and fun training with group exercises
  • Network with peers

On the other side, Remote Training is also:

  • More expensive
  • Requires commitment, as you need to adapt to a certain schedule and show up at a given time
  • Not as flexible in terms of timing, you must wait for the next cohort to start.

Make an informed decision

What’s your goal? Are you looking for a specific tutorial because you forgot part of a procedure, or you need to integrate your knowledge? Or are you looking for online lectures that are easily accessible and available anytime?

If you’re looking for an active learning-by-doing training instead, Remote Training is what we suggest. They’re live and interactive courses accessible from your home or office. You won’t need to move or travel and you’ll still get all the advantages of in-person training.

Sign Up for Remote Training Today

At React GraphQL Academy, we provide professional and experienced React and GraphQL remote training for advanced developers looking to expand their skill set in a new area. If you’re looking to further your knowledge beyond that of free online tutorials and MOOCs, our remote training is for you.

To find out more about the training, head to our dedicated GraphQL Remote Training page or React Remote Training page and find out more about the curriculum. Alternatively, you can get in touch with our expert team to discuss the training in further detail, find out about pricing, and what you’ll get out of the part-time dev training.

But to get a real idea of what our training looks like, join us for our a trial session before the training kicks off. We are running a 3-hour trial of the React training frequently, check this page to see when is the next one. Join us, and if you like what you learn you can secure your spot for the full training later.

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