Online Mentors - The Secret Sauce to Remote Learning

. 5 min read

Online Learning has come to play a pivotal role in changing peoples lives. But not everyone who sits down to watch a 3-hour tutorial on Python for Data Science becomes a Data Scientist. However motivated, somewhere along the way we get fatigued and that is the end of it. This is where remote mentoring comes to the rescue.

Remote mentoring is to lecturers, what TED Talks is to lectures. Remote mentoring provides a platform for people to learn from industry leaders around the world, at the learner’s convenience. Remote mentoring is basically video conferencing with an intent to collaborate on a common issue, monitor progress and provide feedback.

Remote mentorship programs by GreyAtom work by connecting a carefully selected list of learners to an industry pioneer through our online learning platform, GLabs. Under our program, the students are offered the opportunity to interact and learn from both the mentor and their fellow students through a few months-long course.

Our pedagogy is based on the flipped classroom approach, under which the learner learns a concept before the class with the help of materials provided, and the classroom sessions are for applying concepts learnt, under the guidance of the mentor. The teacher does not spend time introducing concepts, rather spends time in teaching the learners to apply them effectively.

Process of remote mentorship

Course format

Under GreyAtom, remotely mentored programs are few months long, with a one 3-hour session per week. The classroom is usually capped at 20, or at a workable student-mentor ration as per the batch. Learners have access to the mentor and each other through GLabs and the Slack platform. We familiarize our learners with the Slack platform, which is a messaging and work organization tool used by many corporate companies. Post course, we also offer career services, to our learners.

Requirements

A desktop or a laptop is essential to take the course. Mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones cannot be used. The sessions happen over fixed times, and the learners have to keep themselves available and free from distractions during the period, with a stable internet connection. Webcam, microphone and speakers are essential, if not already bundled in the device they are using.

Prework

There is prework to be completed before every session. Since we follow the flipped classroom approach, it is on the learners to familiarize themselves with the topic that is going to be handled in the upcoming session. All relevant materials for this shall be provided beforehand.

Session

The session holistically encompasses a week, though the actual online session is only one 3 hour block. Learners would need the week to do the requisite prework. The session starts with a brief about the concept which is going to be covered on the particular day, followed by connecting the already discussed and practiced skill sets required for the current operation, a formal acknowledgement of the prework done before the class, and finally the mentor’s take on the particular subject either through a lecture or through a code along session.

Some of our mentors

Fatos is a passionate technologist bringing with him a wealth of experience from both the start-up and corporate world. He has worked for Oracle as a Cloud Architect and now works for Microsoft as a Data Solutions Architect. He is the founder of the Data Science Initiative community in London and the managing director of his startup consultancy firm Think Gradient.

Shantanu is an MIT New Ventures Leadership graduate, and is on the Alumni Advisory Board. He co-created MiMent, a program structured around Personalized learning plans for Indian University students. He is the author of the LexScore algorithm, and an internationally published researcher in Natural Language Processing, Domain Specific Sentiment Analysis and Analytics. He is also a two time winner of the world’s largest annual code competition (AI Theme) and an active contributor to Stanford Scholar platform.

Shantanu also gave us an insight into what a day in his work life looks like. Check out our chat.

Avinash Ahuja is a Machine Learning Engineer working on improving LinkedIn's search product for hiring and recruiters. Previously, he was a Data Scientist at LinkedIn working on understanding the dynamics of LinkedIn's various marketplaces and leveraging insights to drive LinkedIn's product strategy.

You can have a look at some of our other mentors here.

Benefits of the GreyAtom program model

After working with thousands of learners, we have gotten a sense of what matters most to them. Here is the feedback we have received:

  • Highly-profiled mentors - So far, we have upskilled more than 17,500 learners on our platform. Their gratitude comes primarily for our Mentors. Online Mentors are the key here. The learning material, the resources, the projects, all of them can be availed elsewhere. But the interaction with the mentors is what makes the difference to the learners.
  • Ease of access - Convenience is the next feature that our learners feel makes learning more palatable. An investment of three hours per week is a minimal stress point, and since it can be taken from anywhere, the process becomes really convenient. Our learners tell us that they look forward to the 3-hour session every week.
  • Real time data sets and code-along exercises - The practical exercises that we provide are highly commended by our learners as they are taken directly from actual industrial scenarios, so that the learner gets a first-hand glimpse into how what they study relates to the industry.

Who is this for?

If the points below sound like you, this is for you:

1.      You can commit to a 3-hour block during the week.

GreyAtom pours a lot of resources into finalizing session times with the mentor, so we recommend that mentor sessions are attended to regularly. All course materials are available otherwise, but the central part of the learning process lies in mentor interaction.

2.      You can dedicate time to study and go through the requisite material before each session.

Learning needs to happen before the session and you should come prepared as each session depends heavily on the learned concept.

3.      You don’t necessarily need a structured classroom environment to be able to commit and concentrate.

The remote mentorship program is all about convenience, and it rides on the learner’s ability to sufficiently concentrate on the session while it is in progress. We suggest that the learners have a fixed place devoid of distractions to take the session, but be it any place, if you can effectively handle distractions, remote mentorship will work for you.

Conclusion

Remotely mentored programs are a great way to upskill not just because they are convenient, but that they offer the chance to learn from industry leaders. Coupled with the career services provided post course completion, GreyAtom makes sure that the time spent learning does not go unrewarded.

If you are interested in taking a remotely mentored program, you can check out one of our free courses to get familiar with our platform and our general workflow. Check out our upcoming programs here, pick a course and start learning!



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