Learn to Learn, better (part II)

We reached out to several active Udemy students with the question: “What helps you learn better?”

We received a variety of strategies, tactics, and tips that we hope you’ll find helpful for your own learning pursuits.

 

Larry Boufford – learning Photography, Java and C programming:

The first and foremost strategy for learning about anything is to have a desire to learn. If your heart’s not in it, then it’s a waste of time.

Besides that, I recommend:

1. Set a Strategy. Why are you doing it? Job? Personal Interest? Growth?

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Learn to learn, better (all posts)

Learning is a skill, in and of itself.  It could be the primary skill for the fast changing world we live in today.  Whether you’re starting your own business, trying to get a new job, or just better at the one you have…constant learning is required.

But learning can be challenging, especially alone on nights and weekends. We don’t always know the best learning strategies and tactics.

Thankfully, you can learn to learn, better.

We recently published 3 posts on learning to learn:

Part I summarizes several top learning strategies from experts and bloggers.

Part II covers a sample of learning strategies that our most active Udemy students use.

Part III features Udemy staff telling what helps them learn best.

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Learn to Learn, better (part III)

When we’re not working on Udemy, we (Udemy staff), are lifelong learners, just like you.  All of us here have gone through the challenges (and thrills) of learning new things.  As the final post of this series, some of us at Udemy describe what helps us learn better.

 

Audrey Heinesen, Ed.D., Director for Teaching and Learning:

Ever since I could remember, it’s always been easiest for me to learn something new if I could visualize it and immediately put it into practice.

Recently, my moped (my daily driver) was having issues so I dove into online forums and videos to help me troubleshoot. Reviewing the online videos and articles helped me visualize which parts I needed to learn to fix, and working on the physical bike put what I learned into practice.

Whenever I can apply new learnings in a real-world, practical way, I learn it and it and stays with me.

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Learn to Learn, better (Part I)

A quick internet search reveals that there’s no shortage of interesting tactics, hacks, and techniques that you can try to learn better, faster, and more easily.

We looked through a lot of blogs and articles and found a couple of interesting ones you should try.

DSSS

Tim Ferriss (famous for 4 hour workweek, body, and chef) professes that anyone can become world class in a new skill in 6 months by following what he calls a D.S.S.S framework (Deconstruction, Selection, Sequencing and Stakes).

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How to record video with your iPhone

Creating quality video and audio doesn’t require spending a lot of money on equipment.

You likely already carry something in your pocket everyday that can be used to create a Udemy course: an iPhone.  Yes, that’s right: you can record good quality educational video with most iPhones made in the last 2-3 years.  In fact, the video quality got so good on the latest iPhones that it put the Flip camera out of business (but that’s another story).

The problem with most iPhone footage is that it’s often shaky with poor and noisy audio.  It doesn’t have to be this way though.

For under $75, you can get three items that will turn your iPhone into a course creating machine.

 

The 4 things you’ll need to take great footage

1. iStabilizer Flex Smartphone Flexible Leg Tripod ($25)

istabilizer




 

 

2. Audio-Technica ATR-3350 Lavalier Omnidirectional Condenser Microphone ($17)

atr 3350

3.  iPhone 1/8 inch microphone adapter – 3.5mm 4 conductor TRRS Male to 3.5mm Microphone Input Jack ($25)

adapter calbe

4. An iPhone (3GS or newer for better results).

 

How to set up the mic and tripod

This video will explain how to set up the actual mic and tripod up. Set your video quality to 720p HD in the Youtube settings when you watch the video:

Note: Don’t put the items literally IN your shirt ;)

How to get the video files into iMovie (to edit them)

This video will show you how to import the footage from your iPhone into iPhoto and then iMovie (so you can edit it).  Set your video quality to 720p in the Youtube settings when viewing this clip.

 

Quora: Gain Influence, Followers, & Sales

Quora can be an amazing resource for promoting your name, brand, and Udemy courses.  We highly recommend Udemy instructors explore this interesting social media platform as a means of driving awareness of and traffic to your courses.  You can get started by simply searching for your topics areas (e.g. Yoga, HTML) in the Quora search bar on Quora.com:

Using Quora’s search, you’ll be able to find questions, answers, and topics related to your topic areas.  We recommend finding questions (either open or already answered) that you can add worthwhile answers to.  We also recommend commenting on other people’s answers as this is a way generate a dialog and get people to follow you on Quora. If you have the chance, we do recommend learning a little about Quora before diving in (see below).  Quora is very different from other social media platforms and it’s easy for beginners to struggle with it.

About Quora

Quora.com is a social Q & A website that is powered by user-submitted questions and answers.  It was founded by some former high-level Facebook employees and is now the 535th most visited site in the US (and rising). Quora is similar to Yahoo Answers but with a very different sort of community.  People use their real names on Quora, treat each other civilly, and reward good contributions with upvotes and punish (literally bury/hide) poor contributions/spam/abuse with downvotes.  You’ll see for yourself that the quality of the debates and exchanges on Quora is practically unmatched compared to most web forums/discussion boards. Here’s a couple places to get started on Quora (you can sign-up for free using your Facebook account or email): What are the all time best Quora answers? What answers on Quora have 40 or more upvotes? As you can see from those questions, Quora has some amazing (and often fascinating) user-generated content about a wide array of topics.

So how can you use Quora to promote your courses?

Quora originally had a policy against promoting one’s self, product, services, sites, etc.  Quora rescinded this policy and now allows for self-promotion (with caveats).  Quora released a blog post about this policy change: Quora’s Policy on Self-Promotion Take note of how the author (Marc Bodnick) bolded the part that says “users should make the site a great resource for people who want to learn.” In other words, Quora is OK with people promoting themselves on Quora if they do so in a way that generates knowledge, information and/or value for someone who is coming to the site to learn new things.  The one major caveat here is that you must disclose how you are affiliated (if you are talking about your service or product).  A simple way to do this is to end your answer with something like “disclaimer: I’m the owner of XYZ or I teach X on Udemy”.  You need to put something that allows for readers to identify potential interests you might have. Quora User Makiko Itoh gives some examples of good self-promotion in her top voted answer to the question What are examples of good and bad self-promoting answers on Quora?.  After citing some interesting example answers, her key takeaways are:

  • They all answer the question, with useful information.
  • The answers are quite detailed, not just one or two sentences.
  • The affiliation is clear (as per Quora rules) but it’s not in your face. They’re not trying to sell you something in an obvious manner.

How do I get started?

1. Build your Quora Profile:  Include a picture of yourself, your real name, a short bio, and links to your content (be it Udemy courses and if possible, your personal website) 2. Follow people who you find interesting and are in your area of expertise: Following people is a great way to stay updated on the types of answers/content they create and learn what is working (or not) for them.  Following someone on Quora can also encourage them to follow you (or at least get your name out there). 3. (Most important) Write great answers:  Write many great answers.  Share perspectives and ideas that haven’t been shared before.  Add knowledge to the site.  Share your story of how you came to be passionate about what you are.  Be genuine, be helpful, be fun.  There’s no way around it, adding answers is the best way to increase the number of people who know about you and read your content. 4. Ask Questions:  If you’re curious about something, ask a question about it.  Add the appropriate topics and ask people to answer the question.   Now go! Get started and let us know what you find!