The subtle art of self study
Just 15-20 minutes a day can impact your life in new ways you've never imagined.
I've been meaning to post about this experience for a while now - as I've been in the process of experimenting with different formats and modalities of online learning programmes.
The internet is a wonderful thing.
As with any market out there, some programmes are made better than others. Most of the ones I've found offer undisputed value for the cost and commitment.
The Interaction Design Foundation
IDF is a 16 year old non-profit organization founded in Denmark, with a mission to make ivy league design education accessible to all. This mission is what attracted me to them - as well as the wide variety of UX and design related courses that you can take as a member. Price isn't that prohibitive, if you make the most out of your membership. It costs around 162SGD/year. - which comes out to 13.5SGD per month. That comes out to 2 cups of fancy coffee from Starbucks per month, which is a negligible cost compared to the value that the programme brings.
They have a variety of lessons from Beginner to Advanced, everything from Gamification to creating Emotional Experiences through User Interface Design.
The format varies from visuals, audio and video - but in my opinion, their interface still very much works well in desktop version. The nice thing about the more in-depth lessons is that they provide discourse about extra course material, should you wish to take your studies further.
The commitment to these courses vary depending on the complexity of the course. It is very heavy on theory, as it assumes that practitioners are able to perform applications in their own organisations and projects outside of IDF.
FutureLearn is a new entrant in the MOOC market ( massive open online courses) that was traditionally dominated by EdX and Coursera. I've had the pleasure of taking 3 courses before they changed their model into a limited-access per course only. I've finished the courses "Internet of Things" by Kings College of London, "Mindfulness for Peak Performance and Wellbeing" by Monash University, and "Philosophy of Technology and Design" by University of Twente. There's an option for people to pay, should they wish to claim their course certificates, which will be mailed to you.
What I love about FutureLearn (apart from the wide range of partner institutions) is their intentional focus on the mobile experience of the site. You can sync using a Facebook account ( if you so wish ) and off you go - Guided by breadcrumbs, progress information, and snackable content all the way. This, I think, is their advantage: THey understand the experience of learners, and the context by which their content is presented. A great platform to learn a variety of topics that aren't limited to the field of design.
Coming from a multimedia and design background, coding has always intrigued me. I've always wanted to learn how to code properly, and I have, on and off over the years - but with the fast changing nature of the Internet today, it's very hard to keep tabs and apply constant learning.
Here is where SuperHi comes in. I wanted formal training and structure to learning, so I can progress properly in an age of Internet ubiquity. Honestly, I don't think I could have learned coding in any better way. The format is amazing - You get content modules every week with a project to build, with websites that designers actually want to build, with an online code tool that has AI built in for any on-the-go clarifications. You learn coding straight away. The community on Slack and Facebook is also amazing- a great bunch of people united with the goal of learning code. I highly recommend it to anyone wishing to learn how to write code and build things.
I am barely scratching the surface here, but here's some parting words for the curious:
It can open up opportunities to network with like-minded people and mentors who can give you valuable advise. Like with any other form of learning - An open mind and a willingness to make mistakes can go a long way. While some come with cost implications, the cost usually justifies the value you receive from it. What a wonderful way to use spare time.