Learning JavaScript with a Study Group – JavaScript for WordPress Conference 2019


This post was compiled and written by my incredible partners in crime of the study group. Namely Karen and Rita were the once who wrote most of what is written down here.

“By definition, study groups are a place to work on challenging concepts and learn from each other. Sometimes other students have questions you didn’t even know you have, and setting a regular time and place to study can help with procrastination. Plus, explaining the material to other students is a great way to solidify your knowledge.”

UNI Cornell

Each group is unique and draws on the backgrounds and abilities of its members to determine the material, group culture, and dynamics.

Take advantage of the vast array of collaborative technologies, tools, and apps available to support your learning and mitigate issues concerning remote team communication, calendars, group sessions, and peer to peer learning. Make sure these are accessible to everyone to limit confusion and not discourage people from staying in a study group.

Keep your group small and friendly. Try not to exceed seven members.

Meeting weekly is essential to building continuity. First, for getting to know each other and second for keeping up with your course/bootcamp curriculums. Make a personal commitment to adhere to a schedule. Try to meet on the same day and time each week for the most optimum results.

When starting, there should be a peer leader who manages meeting locations, as well as the study session, and keeps the group informed about the next week’s subject. Later as everyone becomes more familiar and comfortable with each other, start to rotate this leader/mediator position within the group.

The group should determine what gets covered from the start—and the leader/mediator ensures the group stays on track during each session.

Assign different roles to individuals, such as, note keepers, Slack, and GitHub maintainer/s. Practice and manage duties as a team would. Practice agile project management and be prepared to make adjustments when and where it is needed. 

Review together, go over difficult concepts, frameworks, questions, workflows, etc. and address any problems, concerns or issues individual members or the group face. Empathy goes a long way in building strong relationships and supportive group dynamics, especially when you’re tackling new and difficult concepts, course material, or bootcamp and hackathon projects. Again think and act as a team. Minimize destructive grandstanding or adolescent competition. Instead encourage group governance, collaboration, shared successes and personal goal achievements.  

At the end of each session, don’t forget to do a quick wrap up, and summarize all the essential details. Make a tentative plan for the following week. Use Slack, twitter, facebook or whatever else to do weekly check-ins, and stay connected.

Remember: this is not class; have fun with your group!

Bond by spending time together. Share personal stories, your time, experiences, and knowledge. without expectations or judgement. Be supportive, encouraging — most of all, be respectful of your fellow members.

Personal Benefits of a Study Group

  • Learn Faster
  • Procrastination Solution
  • Get New Perspectives
  • Learn/Improve Skills, especially with tools
    • Frameworks
    • Code Editors
    • Reading/explaining your code
  • Sharpen Problem-Solving Skills
  • Maintain Personal Responsibilities
  • Fill In Learning Gaps
  • Practice for the “Real World”
  • Gain Team Experience
  • Self Confidence
  • Break the tedious monotony of learning alone — make new friends and get a boost from your study peeps

For more info, contact anyone in our study group:

Rita Best  | @rpb_reno

Hi there! I’m a Freelance Frontend Developer, Designer & Occasional Entrepreneur. I like to build things. My primary focus is custom WordPress Sites, Custom Blocks and mobile apps. I live in Reno, NV. with my family, a tenacious, although adorable dachshund named Winston and a cheeky African Gray Parrot named Coco. Life is always full at the Bests!

You can find me in the following Slack channels – so ping me and say hi – JSforWordPress, WordPress.org, Know the Code, and Genesis. I’m also one of the hosts for the Reno WordPress Meetup. So if you’re in town at any point feel free to reach out. 

Amber Chunn | @_AmberChunn

Amber fell in love with the internet after taking her first HTML class in 1997. She has been working with websites every since. She found a home with WordPress development 7 years ago and hasn’t looked back. A little over 3 years ago, she left the agency life to work as a support specialist with LearnDash. Every day she has the opportunity to help folks and encourage them in their pursuit of teaching others. Amber also loves to teach and help others, so reach out with any questions or just to say hi!

Amber lives in Orange County, California with her wife Elizabeth and their mischievous dog Mochi. When she is not working or hanging out with her      family, you’ll find her playing with code and enjoying gaming (specifically, both board and video games).

Fabian Kägy | @fabiankaegy

Fabian is the co-founder and lead developer at the Agency Arvernus.info in Germany. Besides his work he also tries to contribute to WordPress and just learn new things. He has been working on WordPress sites for about 6 years now, but really got started with the introduction of the first beta of the Gutenberg plugin.

Anja Deubzer | @anjadeubzer

Anja has designed and coded websites for more than 20 years. For the past 10 years she has exclusively worked with WordPress. She is employed at a Munich media agency, RaySono, and looks forward to including more Javascript/React into her WordPress projects. Apart from that she loves holidays with her family in Scandinavia. After a long day in front of the computer she likes to do yoga, drawing and crafting with her little one.

Brezo Cordero  | @BrezoCordero

Brezo is a Happiness Engineer for Automattic who is travelling at the moment. She’ll update when she is back in the US.

Karen Neumann | @KarenCodes

Karen has been coding websites for about 10 years, teaching herself HTML and then learning WordPress thru a variety of online courses. She builds websites for small businesses along with a designer (so many fonts and colors!) for her business WebSavvy Studio. She got into Javascript to get a jump on the Gutenberg release and was thrilled to have learned how to create her own custom block – thanks to Zac and this study group! When she’s not at her computer, she is out hiking with her dog, Fern or kayaking the NH lakes and ponds.

Jessica Duarte | @jessicaduarte

Jess is a web developer and tech educator from Toronto, Canada. She found her way to WordPress development through lots of meandering from career to career throughout her 20s which included a short stint in non-profit marketing, another in coffee importing and entrepreneurship and a few odd jobs here and there. But when she fell in love with code, it stuck! Jess has been running her own business building custom WP themes for small to medium businesses for the last 5 years. She splits her time between this and teaching digital skills to women in the Long Lake #58 First Nation in Northern Ontario. In her spare time Jess collects fountain pens and ink and loves writing snail mail letters to her friends. 

Allan Andres Chaves | @AllanAndresCh

Andres is a young entrepreneur from a rural part of Costa Rica. He started with WordPress in 2013 monetizing niche blogs + Adsense and then continued the way up making money online from Affiliates, SEO, PPC, SEM, ADS, and FLIP. He has a lot of experience with black & white hat marketing,  Now he has a Masters Degree From EAE Business School  with a minor in Big Data and he is the founder of Datos Analytica – a startup helping small & medium sized businesses get more sales. Do you need more clients? He can get them with data-driven marketing and all the magic related to WordPress + Digital World.

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