If you read my post on Friday you learned about how my 83 year old mother, Betty, took a course on how to turn wood a couple of weeks ago. She made a salt box on a lathe without once swearing loud enough to be heard over the machinery. Point being, you’re never too old to learn something new, unless you’re dead. Or dull.
You see, the other affliction (aside from lack of muscle memory due to being dead) that can hinder a person’s ability to learn something new, is being relentlessly boring. They’re interested in the basics. Eat, sleep, watch Game of Thrones. Repeat.
These are the people I don’t understand. I immediately assume anyone who doesn’t want to learn something new is super-weird and definitely has a hairball the size of a tuba in their stomach.
And then there’s the category that most people fall into. The dreamers. The kind of person who *thinks* about taking courses and learning new things but never follows through. They really do want to learn new stuff and take courses and maybe even become the most respected dried apple doll making artisan in the land. But they never get around to figuring out how to do it.
This is where you come in. This is where you help. This is where you become Supreme Gift Giver of the Year.
This year instead of giving someone a beautiful wood salt box or pepper mill for instance, give them the gift of a woodworking course. You get all the glory while they, in the end, are actually making their own Christmas gift while you lounge at home eating Fritos and watching Game of Thrones.
It used to be the only way to take a course was to go to a school or a local workshop, but in today’s modern world you can go to Harvard without even putting on pants.
That means there are now 2 choices for learning today: Online courses or in person courses.
There are pros and cons to both.
Pros: Convenient to get to (just walk to your computer), inexpensive, access to the best teachers in the world.
Cons: Some tactile things are better learned in person (making pasta dough for example), if you don’t have a scheduled day and time you HAVE to attend a class it’s easy to put off, often no interaction with instructor if you have questions. (sometimes online workshops are LIVE events where you do interact with your instructor … I’ve held those at The Art of Doing stuff in fact)
Where to find them:
M A S T E R C L A S S
- MASTERCLASS – If you’ve spent any time online you’ve seen ads for Masterclass. This recent addition to the online course world gives you access to courses from the BEST of the best.
- Want to learn filmmaking? Ron Howard and Martin Scorsese are 2 of your teachers.
- Want to learn photography? Annie Leibovitz would be your instructor for that.
- Want to learn writing? James Patterson, Shonda Rhimes or teach those Masterclasses.
- Want to learn cooking? Gordon Ramsay, Alice Waters and Wolfgang Puck are some of the instructors.
Here’s a sample of the introduction of Gordon Ramsay’s Masterclass in cooking.
MASTERCLASS also has the option to “Give the Gift of Masterclass“, so whoever is getting your gift can choose whatever they want.
Just as I was leaving my browsing of the Masterclass page I noticed they have an All-Access Pass for $240 (Canadian) where you get access to ALLLLLLL of the classes for a year.
I’m not sure if my enthusiasm for this website is shining through but let me assure you. I AM ENTHUSED.
U D E M Y
- UDEMY – Udemy is AWESOME. It offers classes in almost EVERYTHING anyone could be interested in from business to the arts from beginner to expert. Just type anything you’re wondering about into their search bar and see what comes up. All the classes have preview videos so you can make sure you like the instructor and the content. Udemy offers courses in:
- computer coding,
- dog training,
- gardening, turning your home into a smart home, Feng Shui, How to Start an Air B&B and more.
Seriously, Udemy is an amazing source for online courses.
There’s a lot of information and a lot of courses (over 55,000). If you know exactly what you’re looking for the fastest way to find it will be by using their search bar at the top of their homepage. But if you’d like ideas, browse around their categories and subcategories and something is sure to pop out at you.
U N I V E R S I T Y C L A S S E S
Stanford, Yale, Harvard … you can not only take classes from these Ivy League schools, you can actually get certificates from there.
Each University runs their courses differently. Some of them allow you to pay a fee so you can take the course and be credited for it. If you don’t want actual credits, you can take the classes for free.
You can access all of Yale’s FREE online classes here.
You can access all of Oxford University’s classes here.
You can access all of Harvard’s classes here.
You can access all of Princeton’s free online classes here.
Those are just a few of the prestigious Universities offering courses. If you have a favourite in mind that isn’t on the list then just Google it. Chances are they offer free classes.
IN PERSON CLASSES
Pros: Hands on learning, social experience, you’re more likely to attend all the classes within the set period of time.
Cons: If you miss a class because you’re sick or busy there’s usually no way to make it up.
Where to find them:
- Local newspapers. Even the smallest of villages and towns often have seasonal workshops in things like wreath making or canning. The local papers are the best place to find these things and you can usually search the papers online.
- Colleges. If you’re close to a larger town/city then you can also look for courses in local colleges. My own town has an art school and you can take entire semester long courses in everything from Photography to Art History.
- Craft shows. Big or small, craft shows are a great place to find otherwise hard to find workshops. Any makers market will be FULL of potential workshop instructors. The vendors often also give workshops, you just have to ask about them. That’s how we found the woodworking workshop we took. So if you’re at a craft show with someone and they comment on liking something, go back and ask the booth owner if they do workshops.
- The Old Timers. Know someone who’d like to learn how to re-tin copper pots or build a dry stacked stone wall? You’re gonna have to search out the old timers for that. These skills are becoming obsolete and giving the gift of some old timer knowledge not only results in a present but ensures the passing of knowledge that might otherwise become extinct. Just find someone who does this sort of thing (they’re getting harder to find) and ask about a price for a lesson.
To really round out these workshop gifts, include a few things that go with the particular gift. So, a bag of peppercorns and some Danish Tung Oil to go with a woodworking course for a peppermill. Or a set of charcoal pencils for a drawing course. You get the idea.
p.s. I’d LOVE to learn how to retin copper pots and if you know anyone in Ontario who can teach me, let me know. Better yet. Get it for me as a Christmas gift.