Draft: Working Knowledge 2 Studio Culture

Working Knowledge

Sometimes find yourself lamenting not taking that psychology course at school, feeling a bit out of depth at work and want to brush up your skills or just fancy trying your hand at another language - there's a app or site for that.

Coming from an events and print background there's been an awful lot to learn about a motion studio and the production required. Combined with hands on experience - reading as many emails as I can possibly get cc'd on and gleaming insight and tips from other experienced members - I'm the sort of person who also likes courses. 

'Lifelong learning' seems to have become a bit of a buzzword across studios and design agencies and there are a range of CPD courses, workshops and seminars out there for those working in the creative industries. However, for the time poor, and unable to afford the often-high prices, they aren't always practical. 

With the rise of technology has also come the democratisation of higher education and an explosion in platforms offering free or cheap courses that you can complete at your own pace. 

Throughout my years in education I often took additional courses after school through adult Ed, and so was quick to try out some of these platforms when they first launched a few years ago.  I've been using them since as a way to learn things that take my fancy and teach me more skills for use in both my personal and professional work.

Skillshare

Skillshare is perhaps one of the best for those looking to learn more creative skills. The site is split into 'schools' of advertising, business, design, film, music and tech to name a few. As such, all the courses tend to lean towards the creative industries in some aspect or another. 

A 'learn by doing' approach makes it easier to retain information, put the skills to use and pursue personal projects while also focusing on building upon your existing skill set. Although not free, per class the cost is reasonable at an average of $20 per course. Skillshare have also recently launched a membership program whereby for $9.95 p/m you have access to all of the classes offered on the site.

The best feature, for me at least, is that there is no time limit on the courses. Once you have signed up and paid you have continued access to the content and can learn and complete them at your own pace. Due to this the risk of falling behind and missing out on assignments (as on other platforms) is greatly reduced. However, this is also means that with no deadlines it does require quite a lot of self-motivation to complete your chosen topics. 

Duolingo

A confusing taxi exchange on a recent trip to Mexico led me to the realisation that it was time to learn another language. Having previously tried books and Rosetta Stone style courses (but abandoning them to soon) I needed something that I could interact with a bit more and motivate me. A bit of a game fan, Duolingo's interface and gamification style of learning seemed like the best option. 

The app is fun and easy to use which provides a good understanding of the basics and gradually leads you on to further chapters and verbs. Get too many answers wrong and you loose a heart, after three and it's back to repeat the subject. As you progress through the stages it also helpfully records your weak skills and provides a test to revise them. 

Three months on it's still working - my Spanish may still not be great, but I am continuing to use the app and practice a bit everyday. 

FutureLearn

A UK based online platform, very similar to Coursera, FutureLearn offers a range of courses from universities. FutureLearn's links to higher education mean that there is a broad range of more academic and humanities based subjects - Forensics, Mathematics and Corpus Linguistics are just a few of the courses available. (They also have some very nice branding produced by Wolff Ollins).

In the same vein as more traditional learning, the courses on offer follow 'terms' of a few weeks to a couple of months. While this does require a greater time commitment, it may also be better for those who crave structure and the push of a deadline to make them engage and work. 

Mark Lester from FutureLearn will be speaking at Protein's The Future of Work forum on 15th April. The forum "will explore how people are educating and preparing themselves for a more competitive, diverse workplace" Tickets are still available and can be purchased here

Helen

Studio Manager & Assistant Producer @ Art&Graft

Tags: Studio Culture

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