I don’t know if anyone has considered this but in Edinburgh were now running a supported learning session which seems to popular and going down well. This is helping further our Meetup goal of creating a Test Community in Edinburgh.
Its a structured learning group but without a set goal, a bit of the premises of Lean Coffee and of some of the points from the book The Starfish and the Spider (great concepts, decent book)…
So how have we done this:
- Find a place to study, for us it needs to be quiet. - The venue needs to have desks & Wifi.
- Find some volunteers to help mentor and support, were running a ratio of 6 to 1 with a rotation of 3 mentors
- Create the meetup and only allow for 10 people to sign up Link
- Ask the attendees to commit to 6 consecutive weeks and to bring a laptop (or secure one from a buddy).
- Setup a Slack and a Git to support on going conversations and code reviews
So the plan was
- Asking people to introduce themselves and talk about why they came, the idea was to moderate to find a common goal between the group.
- Pair up with a partner to look at options for achieving the goal along with pro’s can cons
- Present the options to the group (and the mentor) to discuss and agree a way forward.
- Make a commitment to the group to support each other over the next couple of weeks.
- Take a retrospective every couple of weeks and at the end of the 6 weeks (it was guestimated 6 weeks would be enough to get momentum) discuss next steps and options.
So how has it gone?
We had 4 no shows (out of 10)
People at the start were a bit nervous about sharing but after 15 minutes seemed to open up.
Also were a bit perplexed that no one was going to sit down and tell them what to learn
However, agreed 2 goals and split into 2 groups (Java Coding and API).
Researched options and presented back to the group. API’s started to use a You Tube channel one of the team were watching already and the Java team started on AiT.
Week 2 we had one drop out. They were looking for a classroom based learning, not the structure we had offered.
Week 4 team API are still using You Tube, and team Java are now on Automation Uni.
We have 4.5 regular attendees and the mentor is abit bored as the teams are mostly self supporting.
Some general observations
- Having study buddies means that its giving the extra kick to finish that chapter or watch that video when you have had that busy day.
- The groups are self motivating too, with people asking how we are getting on and asking if they need help.
- People are being open about when they are stuck and need help
- I think its turned into just a time to study and learn, away from all the other distractions in life. The mentor is the safety net but people are believing in themselves to be able to solve the issues
I had plenty of messages from others on meetup saying they would love to do this so were going to expand the group (if they want to join us) to another 6 people and see if some of the students from group 1 will start to support the next group as they start of their coding journey.
Were still doing the standard monthly meetup with a speaker but this creates a nice offshoot which helps bring people who might not have signed up for a lecture style meetup into the community