I was asked if I got bored. Who has time to get bored when there is always so much to learn and there are so many free learning opportunities?
Free learning Opportunities
What Is A Learning Activity?
Most weeks I find something to find out ‘how to do’ but, until I sat back and thought about it for this blog, I didn’t see that as learning. It is just something I do.
Types of Learning Activities
I happily download a new digital art programme and spend hours teaching myself how to use it, for example. I might research how to cook with something new (last week was sweet potatoes – don’t ask). Or perhaps I read some articles about dog behaviour as part of my ongoing attempts to train Spud!
When you think about it, for all its faults, the internet provides us with a huge source of free learning opportunities.
Let’s look at a couple of examples of free learning opportunities that I have taken advantage of this week.
Google Is Not Just A Search Engine
When people talk about Google they are usually referring to the search engine. How do you cook a sweet potato? Let’s Google it. And lo and behold, you type in ‘how do you cook a sweet potato’ and pages and pages of recipes, guidance and tutorial videos appear like magic. The hard bit, of course is using discernment in selecting the ones to spend time reading. Not to mention the one you will actually follow in the kitchen.
This week I have been taking advantage of a different service from Google and that is free learning opportunities.
Learn Online Marketing with Google
I was amazed to discover that Google offers something they call the Digital Garage. This is effectively a whole series of modules offering free training. According to their advertising these are “Free courses on everything from search to social media, to help you grow your business or career“. I am never one to turn away from the opportunity to learn something for free so I thought I would give it a go.
To start with you sign up and answer a few simple questions. Then the Digital Garage presents you with a series of modules to work through. These modules comprise really short videos on a topic (2-4 minutes in duration on average) and a transcript is available.
Topics include ‘get noticed locally’, ‘get noticed with social media’, ‘make mobile work for you’, ‘track and measure web traffic’ and many, many more. As you complete a set of modules you complete a quiz to test your learning. If you pass the quiz you are awarded a badge which is a bit of fun (reminds me of gold stars at school). If not you are encouraged to redo the module.
What Have I Learned?
I learned several things in the very first video I watched. Some basic things I could kick myself for having missed. As a result, I have now allocated ten minutes each day to working on the modules and implementing the things I learn. I think there has only been one set of modules where I can honestly say I gleaned nothing.
What I have learned has led to changing the end of my YouTube videos, registering on local search engines (see my new local business site on Google) and changing the wording on some aspects of my art website. There is more, but you get the idea.
This is a free learning opportunity that is making a difference to me and all it takes is a small fraction of my day. I can highly recommend it!
YouTube As A Source of Free Learning
You all know me as a fine art photographer who specializes in photomanipulation. But I am also an acrylic painter with a large number of completed canvases in my studio.
Recently I have become very interested in the technique of ‘acrylic pours’. Explained simply, this entails pouring acrylic paint, suitably mixed, onto canvas and tilting the canvas to cover the surface. There is a lot more too it than that of course. I wanted to find out more and see if it is something I could get involved in.
Learning About Acrylic Pours
An artist friend who has just started acrylic pours recommended a YouTube video and I got totally hooked. Again we have bite-sized free learning opportunities with videos for the beginner to the advanced and all stages in between. I have watched a couple of videos each day this week. These include preparing the canvas, mixing the paints, the pouring techniques and varnishing the end product. And I want to have a go so that is now my next project! I have a few more videos bookmarked to watch and then I think it is time for me to start pouring!
That is two sources of free learning opportunities I have taken advantage of this week. Who knows what I will learn next week?
All of the images in today’s blog are available to purchase, just click on the picture to be taken to the purchase page.
Before you go
My name is Dorothy Berry-Lound an artist and writer. You can find out more about my art and writing at https://dorothyberryloundart.com.
Thank you for reading!