2020 Training Review

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This blog post was written by our intern Osheen Macoscar.

2020 is a year most of us would like to leave behind. But not all change is bad, and many interesting developments, especially in education, happened due to the constraints imposed by COVID. Like many other training providers, we had to pivot to online learning, which brought with it challenges but also new opportunities. This review will hopefully offer some insight into what the year looked like for our trainers and training course attendees with some key facts and figures along the way.

2020 Course Stats

Here is a basic overview of all training courses in 2020:

  • Total number of attendees : 1288

  • Total number of courses delivered : 93

  • Number of R courses delivered : 77

  • Number of Python courses delivered : 15

I have created a few plots which I think help provide some further insight into our training courses in 2020. They have all been created using the R package {ggplot2} (which incidentally, you can learn to master in our Advanced Graphics with R course!). This first plot shows the number of attendees across course start dates, coloured by whether the course was on-site or online.

I thought this was an interesting plot as it displays the impact of COVID on the type of courses JR ran in 2020, and the slight increase in course capacity that came with everything being moved online. It also shows the temporary break in courses around March 2020 when the national lockdown was first introduced. You can see that our transition to fully remote training only took one month and five days!

As a result of COVID, we ran the online courses on Zoom which meant we had a higher attendee-to-trainer ratio. Due to this, we developed a bespoke training stack to maintain a high quality of training. This involved using RStudio Workbench as a way to provide a remote instance of RStudio on the Cloud. This way, attendees are granted access to the tutor scripts, exercises, solutions and a pdf copy of the notes. A measure we implemented in some courses was to add an additional trainer to assist with the course admin and help answer questions in the Zoom chat.

Now, after the first plot you may be wondering what proportion of JR’s courses were on-site vs online, given that the first online course took place mid-April. I have created a pie chart showing the proportion of course locations.

As you can see, it is almost exactly a 25/75 split of on-site to online. This is because there were 23 on-site courses and 70 online courses, which is pretty impressive considering how new the Jumping Rivers training team were to running remote training.

Another interesting topic to investigate was the proportion of courses run for each language. This was something John covered in the 2019 training review, so proportions could be compared between the two years.

In 2020, Jumping Rivers ended up running 93 courses, only a tiny bit short of the 95 courses ran in 2019. Predictably, R is still the most popular language across courses.

Course Popularity

R Course Numbers

As you can see from the R course numbers above, unsurprisingly, “Introduction to R” is the most popular course by a large margin, with a total of 26 courses in 2020, 20 more than the courses tied for second.

Python Course Numbers

In familiar fashion, we can see that the most popular Python course was the introductory course, followed closely by “Programming with Python”. An interesting pattern that can be spotted between the two most prevalent coding languages, is that the introductory, programming and visualistaion courses were the three most popular in both!

Trainer Awards

Next up we have the 2020 JR trainer awards, where we get to reveal who taught the most courses and who taught the most attendees respectively.

Most Courses

Congratulations to Theo on teaching the most courses in 2020, with a whopping 29 courses, which on average is more than one course every other week! We also have Rhian on 26 and Jamie on 20 courses respectively!

Most Attendees

Unsurprisingly, Theo also wins the award for the most attendees taught in 2020 having taught 437 people in total!

Final Thoughts

What a unique year 2020 was. I have to say, the team of trainers at Jumping Rivers handled the transition from on-site to online courses very smoothly! In fact, even with the one-month transitionary period, the course numbers were similar to 2019! In August 2021, at the point of writing, we are running online courses only. However, our plan is currently to run both online and on-site courses from the turn of the new year, so stay tuned! You can check our currently available public courses here.

For updates and revisions to this article, see the original post

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