We’re launching our new ReactJS course to help you grow your career. This course condenses 1,000+ hours of learnings that we gained from teaching our own development team how to build our platform using ReactJS.
The technical skills gap in today’s world is massive. That’s why we started Firehose over 4 years ago: to give people the technical skills that aren’t taught in a traditional 4-year college program.
For us, education needs to be personal and smart. We set out on our journey to build a platform that allows students to absorb these technical skills.
Creating this type of experience is extremely challenging. Ultimately it comes back to the fundamentals of building a lesson and developing a curriculum that can support this type of smart education. Thanks to these learnings, we watched more and more of our students develop the right skills, and launch successful careers in web development. We realized that as our students continued to develop as developers, there are a shortage of options to facilitate their continued growth.
As our students grew, it was important for us to grow with them. We wanted to provide a platform to help existing developers learn new skills, in addition to our mission of helping people launch their successful development careers.
Today we are moving one step closer to this goal with the launch of our new ReactJS course. Before I share the details of what we’ve done, I want to walk you through the evolution of Firehose and how we’ve gotten here.
2013: Teaching Web Development in Person
Firehose started with the founders teaching hundreds of students in classroom sessions at places like Harvard, Carnegie Mellon, Brown University, and Babson University.
When my co-founder Ken and I developed our first set of curriculum to teach 25 eager students, the goal was to teach them how to build a web application in a single weekend.
We may not have known the best teaching practices when we started out, but we had experience with software engineering and web development. This knowledge even gave us the opportunity to teach software engineering at Harvard, Carnegie Mellon, Brown University, and others, while also teaching an entire Computer Science department at Boston University.
To speed up our learning process, we constantly tested our curriculum and teaching skills in the classroom.
The Firehose teaching style was developed through A/B testing our curriculum live in the classroom
Using our product background, we knew that the fastest way to a great user experience is direct feedback from the students we were teaching. In each classroom, we presented multiple different versions of explaining the same abstract coding concept to each set of students. Based on their reaction and understanding of the materials, we calculated a “knowledge gain impact” score.
We then picked the highest scoring versions and repeated the same feedback loop over and over again. Essentially, we live A/B tested how to teach technical knowledge.
Developing our learning experience allowed us to craft an optimal learning experience: efficient learning speed combined with knowledge that sticks.
The optimal learning experience combines efficient learning speed with knowledge that sticks
2014: Building an Online Education Platform
From the very beginning, we knew that we wanted to reach as many people as possible. Within a classroom, there would always be a limit to the number of people we could teach, so we made the decision to go online. This meant we could apply the same principle we discovered was successful in the classroom: a consistent feedback loop to always improve how we teach.
Fast forward to today, after teaching thousands of students, we are no longer starting from the beginning. We’re running a thriving company with a goal to be out front, shaping the future of online education.
Our goal is to be out front, inventing the future of online education.
Our original classroom curriculum expanded by a factor of 100 and while we still follow our original direct feedback loop, we beefed up our knowledge on how to build the perfect learning experience.
At its core, Firehose lessons are project-based modules that interweave theoretical knowledge with practical application. In each module, we use repetitive practice as the fastest way to make new knowledge stick. We then deconstruct all abstract concepts into small steps to help students relate and understand as fast as possible.
For every lesson we build we ask ourselves: “how can a student go through this curriculum as efficiently as possible while also understanding everything as quickly as possible”. If we do this correctly, our materials are understandable after the first read and the student understands everything we want to convey.
How can a student go through the Firehose curriculum as efficiently as possible while also understanding everything as quickly as possible?
Crafting this balance between direct real-world application of new knowledge isn’t easy. Students need to repeat key elements of what they learn and understand the “why” behind the way we do things. However, it’s this balance that makes differentiates Firehose from other online learning resources.
2017: Growing With Our Students and Launching Standalone Courses
At its core, Firehose is built by developers, for developers – both existing and aspiring. We’re unique because every team member is technical. We believe that the people you trust your educational future with should have actual experience doing what you’re setting out to do.
This journey wasn’t easy and started out with a big disappointment. We taught ourselves ReactJS and spent months building out a curriculum, just to throw it all away. What we built didn’t have the efficiency (think “learning speed”) and impact (think “digestible knowledge”) that we stand for.
We used the Firehose ReactJS course, teaching our own development team how to build the new course platform using ReactJS.
After our first failed curriculum attempt, the Firehose team set themselves an amazing goal: our ReactJS course needs to be so good that our own team can use it and build the Firehose platform that hosts our new curriculum using ReactJS.
It was an audacious goal. If we wanted to build the best learning experience online, we should use what we build ourselves. We should test its impact by running our new ReactJS course on a platform that’s built using ReactJS.
After 4 weeks our team was delivering in a big way. They understood ReactJS and were halfway done building part of our Firehose learning platform. While we continued to build our new platform parts, we continually returned and integrated every new lesson that we learned along the way.
What started as a simple piece of curriculum, turned into a jam-packed course, full of over 1,000 hours of learnings. These learnings navigate every single intricacy of a new JS framework.
But we didn’t stop there. After we felt confident in our product, we gave it to some of our own bootcamp graduates and received their feedback. We then took the feedback from students into account and gave our curriculum another round of improvements.
This improved curriculum is what we are launching today.
Into The Future: Continuing to Stay Ahead of the Curve
At Firehose, we believe that selling stale knowledge is fighting a losing battle. If we don’t keep our curriculum ahead of the curve, we’re not growing with you.
There are already too many online learning experiences where teaching stale knowledge is part of the way the curriculum is developed. We don’t want to be one of them: we want to facilitate the long-term growth of developers.
Instead, we see our students consistently return to freshen up their knowledge and review our updated materials. If something changes in the industry, we update our lessons to reflect the change. In our opinion, it’s what a true education platform should be like.
We would love for you to try our ReactJS course. You can experience the first 4 lessons for free!