Challenges and obstacles

Building a learning platform for The Great Sync has been a gargantuan task (Google assures me that is a real word).

If I thought creating a detailed fictional universe to model how javascript works was a challenge, this was a whole new level for me.

Before I describe the progress made, let me moan and complain about the challenges faced - I will try be brief 😂.

E-Learning Platforms not fit for the task

At the start, I had high hopes I wouldn’t have to worry about the actual website for the course. I was going to do what 99% of the other course creators do - use an existing platform like udemy, skillshare or teachable. The costs for these sites aside, I realized the biggest limitation was a lack of flexibility delivering the learning material. You see, the whole point of The Great Sync is total immersion in javascript. That means reading & writing javascript, watching javascript, listening to javascript, and looking at imagimodels of javascript - lots of them, in different combinations. We are even drawing javascript in this course! None of the available e-learning platforms catered for this wild west approach.

Building a full-stack application

The solution? Build my own. It really does help being a developer sometimes.

But that is no small task. I’ve had to build the database, server, content management system and interactive frontend. While certainly fun to do - it has diverted me from my main objective: creating TGS material!

Sidenote: I found it amusing to be building a platform that requires all the skills the course itself is teaching. Learning javascript truly is incredibly rewarding if you persevere. Whether it’s becoming a developer, starting a business, or just building your own thing - it opens so many doors!

New illustrations

For over 2 years I have been designing and creating illustrations for the imagimodel representations of javascript, with the help of some talented graphic designers and illustrators. Some of these were created so early on that they are not fit for purpose. I have needed to redesign some of these, such as our Surgeon Operator. Here is the latest version of her:

A sorceress illustration.

Other new illustrations include more detailed depictions of closures, a cinematic illustration of an asynchronous event, and a Promise object ship.

To create these illustrations requires much time and space to think creatively and work closely with the designers. Time I obviously do not have.

Real life examples

The mistake that many people make is thinking that they can learn javascript through my illustrations only. That’s impossible. There are no short-cuts. You cannot look at a few pictures and suddenly understand javascript.

The illustrations and stories are a gateway to understanding. They help us interpret the code. They are not a replacement. 

My goal is to find really good examples and exercises. If we are building a mental model, I want us to practice applying that model in different contexts. This could be a code snippet from documentation, source code from a famous library, or junior vs senior implementations.

Finding really good examples is tricky. I don’t want to take the first examples I can find. 

Balancing a full time job

I would say this is my biggest challenge. I work as a senior dev on a big fintech project, and it demands most of my time and energy. It means I have to prioritize what I am working on, and at the moment that is building the course. Unfortunately, this means less time creating free content for my followers, and writing more posts. 

Okay I have finished my rant now. Many have been waiting so patiently for me to complete the next stage of The Great Sync, and hopefully this explains why it has taken longer than expected.

Want to help me? There is nothing more enjoyable to me than hearing directly from you, letting me know what you think of the project or what you are hoping to learn. Drop me a line below:

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