Well welcome to Week 4 & 5 of my digital learning adventure or perhaps I should call it a misadventure. To tell you the truth, I am not learning much. I start, I stop, I restart, I see something else that looks interesting… This online learning thing is difficult but again it might just be me and my magpie attention span.
This is not to say I have not discovered anything about trying to learn coding and/or game creation by video tutorial. I have already mentioned the need for a learning community you can connect with but I have stumbled upon a few other online learning needs that I didn’t anticipate.
The first of these “needs” is a dual monitor set up. Although I use a dual monitor for graphics work sometimes, I hadn’t used it for doing video tutorials before. Specifically in a learn to code situation. I quickly came to realize just how imperative a dual monitor for something like learning to code, when I tried to do a video tutorial using just my laptop. It was a royal pain flipping between the Unix Interface and the video tutorial. I found it so aggravating, I quit after about 10 minutes. What I realized shortly thereafter was that my students would be suffering from the same frustrations when trying to learn to code using a single monitor set up like they have in our computer lab.
The next thing I came to see as needed for learning by video tutorial, is strong English language skills. Especially in listening and comprehension. I came to see this as my English language learners quickly became disinterested in trying to learn Java Script though Khan Academy or Unix 3D. The video tutorials quickly became meaningless to them as they didn’t have the language comprehension skills to clearly understand what was being said in the videos. I asked them if they could find an equivalent set of video tutorials in their own language but they searched to no avail. I would assume there are video tutorials being made in languages other than English but It would seem there is a significant shortage of such learning resources in languages other than English.
The last need I would like to talk about is money, even though it would seem to be counter to the entire free online learning movement. The reality is that many “Free Courses” will require you the learner, to lay out some money at some point. The FREE course is just the hook to get you to purchase something down the line. Adobe is a fantastic example. They have some of the best online learning opportunities I have ever seen. Their courses are so well put together and presented, you can’t help but want to learn Photoshop online, but to make use of them you need their software, so you end up paying the subscription fee. Some courses will come with FREE SOFTWARE but once you are done the introductory course and are raring to go onto the next, you discover you need to upgrade to the PRO PACKAGE in order to go any further.
These are but two examples of how FREE in online learning isn’t really FREE. There is almost always a cash catch at some point, but that is OK. If an individual or organization has put all this time, money and resources into a course, it only makes sense that they try to recoup some of that money somewhere along the line. The point here is, that learning isn’t as free and easy as we are led to believe. There will always be a cost somewhere along the line. Course fees, software, hardware, subscription fees, internet service, hydro… It all adds up.
And so wraps up this weeks of this installment of Learning on the Web.