Self-study and learning environments

From Jesse Farmer’s Quora answer: http://www.quora.com/Are-programming-boot-camps-a-better-way-to-learn-programming-instead-of-self-study

“..If you’re studying on your own, I think it’s critical that you find at least one expert mentor/coach/teacher who can give you semi-regular feedback on your work. 

I see things like Lynda, Codecademy, Udacity, etc. as the internet’s version of a public library card — amazing and unquestionably valuable, but not comparable to having a peer, mentor, or teacher who is vested in your learning.  I believe very firmly that the most important factor in student learning is frequent, high-quality feedback from an expert-teacher.  In other words, who you’re learning with matters a lot more than how you’re learning and how you’re learning matters a lot more than what you’re learning

Self-Study and Unconscious Incompetence 

One thing I’ve found about students who learn on their own is that they can be stuck in a state of unconscious incompetence for a very long time.  It wasn’t until I had been learning on my own for several years that I was able to look back and see how hopelessly confused I was for months and months on end.  Make sure you’re constantly asking yourself, “Do I really, truly believe I understand this?  How can I put that belief to the test?”

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