Jul 18, 2018 By Team YoungWonks *
What is self-paced learning? Essentially a kind of instruction that dwells on learner response, self-paced learning takes into consideration the student’s abilities and lets him /her proceed from one topic or segment to the other at his/ her own speed. Two years ago, Kairan Quazi, a precocious child who has shown an affinity for coding since an early age, first became acquainted with this type of learning upon joining YoungWonks after-school coding program.
So impressed was Kairan with his first class - a trial class - that the then-7-year-old signed up to learn coding soon after. Since then, Kairan who is now a college student at the age of 9 - yes, you read that right - has picked up coding rather quickly; he has already learnt programming languages Scratch and Python. “In my first four classes, I was done with Scratch. Then I started learning Python, I was done with it by my 8th birthday. After that I studied GPIO PyGame and now I am where I am, on Flask, Tkinter and SQL,” says this sharp student, who is currently pursuing a double associate’s degree in math and chemistry.
Kairan then is a perfect example of a student who has made full use of the self-paced instruction feature at YoungWonks. Vishal Raina, founder and senior instructor at YoungWonks, points out how eagerly Kairan would look forward to his classes. “I can still remember seeing Kairan outside our Pleasanton facility as he waited for us to open the doors,” he says.
On his part, Kairan says that he is grateful for having got the opportunity to join YoungWonks and learn coding, especially since he loves the subject. “I really like coding, reading and current events. In my first grade, my computer science teacher recommended that I learn coding because of the way I processed information. So two years ago, I started at YoungWonks because it was the only coding school that would accept someone to do advanced programming at my age (7, back then),” he recollects.
What worked for Kairan was the realization that he wanted to “get started early”; joining YoungWonks gave him just the leg up he needed to do more work in a shorter period of time. “I first attended YoungWonks for my trial class and I love it here even now; it’s one of the best experiences I would say I have had in my life,” emphasises the 9-year-old.
So what is it that sets YoungWonks apart from traditional schools? Kairan shares that to begin with, the faculty there is extremely supportive and quick to pick up on a student’s needs. “The best thing is that if you have the right attitude and aptitude, you can go at any speed you want. It’s a self-paced program where you don’t have to sit down and listen to a lecture; instead you are actually doing exercises in your class. So I can go fast and continue learning new things at my own pace. Whether you have learning disabilities or you are gifted, this system works for everyone,” says Kairan, who incidentally is also a Mensa member.
Indeed, there are many advantages to self-paced learning.
1. You learn as per your speed, which means you don’t depend on the teacher or other students to decide at what pace you will be learning a subject.
2. No pressure to catch up, beat or wait for any other student. The course learning is customised to suit your distinct needs as an individual student.
3. Aids memory retention. In the absence of pressure to perform quickly or to slow down to let others catch up, it’s easier for the said student to devote more time to the harder material and less to the easier chapters. Typically, this helps the student find his / her rhythm which in turn leads to him / her understanding the subject better and remembering more than in a typical learning format.
4. Flexible schedules. Self-paced instruction allows students to answer the questions in their own time, so there is no need for all of them to be ready at certain time. For example, students can decide by themselves when they will schedule the quiz.
5. Compatible with the internet classrooms of today. A modern form of learning, the popularity of self-paced instruction can also be traced to the fact that the classroom is no longer just a physical realm but a virtual one too, thanks to the video lessons that can and are imparted via the internet.
6. Convenient for students and parents. Are you dividing time between many classes? Or are you juggling between your coding class and a part-time job? A self-paced program will give you freedom to choose how you will be studying a given subject.
Coming back to Kairan, the 9-year old is quick to brush aside his Mensa conquest (“Your score in the IQ test just has to be in the top 2 percent”) and is already looking at the road ahead. “I am currently doing a double associate’s degree. But I want to transfer to MIT where I want to get my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. And then I want to go to Cambridge where I want to get my PhD in math. The idea is to put my skills to good use because my parents say that I have a gift and that I should be using it to help people,” he says matter-of-factly.
Amen to that, we say!
*Contributors: Written by: Vidya Prabhu; Photo post production by: Leonel Cruz