Learning new things will always be a passion of mine. Recently, I’ve tried my hand at spoon carving and floristry, amongst other things. I like nothing better than a full day of immersion in a new activity. But that’s not always an option and so I’ve been investigating other ways to learn that I can fit into every day life. Here’s a few that I like:
Skillshare. This American website hosts online courses in a wide variety of subjects such as hand-lettering, digital illustration, film-making and photography. Students upload their work for critique from their peers and the teacher. I’ve not taken a course yet, but the feedback between students seems to be positive and constructive. The prices look good too, and as there are courses lasting from 90 minutes, it’s a way of easily fitting some study into your life.
Podcasts. I was introduced to podcasts by my lovely boyfriend and now I love to listen to them when I’m travelling or in the evening. The BBC produce lots, as well as other favourites including TED and the T3 tech podcast. Podcasts are great for absorbing knowledge; some studies show that people retain more when listening than reading, so language podcasts like Coffee Break French are good. A quick look through my podcasts shows natural science lectures from The Royal Society, the BBC Documentary of the week and the Film Review with Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo. I’m always on the lookout for new ones so if you’ve got any favourites, do let me know!
Open University. An old favourite, the Open University is a good place to look for introductory courses in many things. If you’re wanting to combine getting more formal education with work it’s still a great place to start. I’ve taken a variety of courses with the OU, including French, Creative Writing and an Introduction to Leonardo da Vinci; the ultimate multipotentialite! Sadly, it’s not the affordable option it use to be if you live in England, but still worth a look.
Apps. Ok, a phone app is unlikely to give you any great depth of knowledge. But for a fun way to pass the time and increase your vocabulary, there are some great language apps, such as Mindsnacks and Duolingo (which also has a website). There are also some lovely apps for using to identify birds, trees, etc, which are handy to have when you’re out and about—increasing your knowledge incrementally when you spot something you can’t identify is a good way of making it stick.
Digital radio. Immersion is the best way to learn a language, so alongside French podcasts and games on Apps, I listen to Fip radio when I’m home alone. Just having the language spoken in the background while I’m doing other things helps me develop an ear for pronunciation.
FutureLearn. A website owned by the Open University offering FREE online courses from leading UK and international universities. A quick search through the FutureLearn site has already given me a giant list of courses I’d be interested in, from entrepreneurship to history, via science, tech, politics, photography and language. Amazing…The site is still in beta, and each course is a pilot, so they’re really keen that students give feedback on their experiences to enable them to develop. Helpfully, each course shows upfront the hours you will need to commit to learning each week and for how long.
Have you tried any of these learning methods? How did you get on?
Do you have any more to recommend? I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below…