Getting the best out of our Live-Zoom training
Online learning means that you can watch day or night, but things can get in the way!
Here are tips that will make your learning much more effective.
Make sure you have reliable internet access
Different parts of my homes and offices have different wifi speeds, set up in a place where coverage is best. At busy times, others can slow your connection significantly.
Create a dedicated study area
Wherever you study, ensure it is quiet, organized, and distraction-free. A quality study environment is critical; make sure that it supports your learning routine.
Set a fixed time
Try taking the Modules at a fixed time every day, or even once a week, just as if you were in class. Before starting the next Module, try replaying the previous Module’s review to help bring you up to speed.
Ask others to respect your study time. Turn off phones and log off social networks to prevent constant pings from affecting your quality of learning.
Keep music low and without words
Play music in the background if it helps. Be aware that loud music, or music with words, tries to insert itself into your brain, making learning harder, particularly when wrestling with complex concepts.
Try listening to classical music or soft instrumentals. WQXR (www.wqxr.org), a public radio station in New York, plays classical music 24/7, worldwide, for free.
Download the PDF tutorial notes
Download these notes to your computer AND smart device. This way, you always have them with you, whether at home or when out taking photos. Do the same with the user manual for your camera.
Take one Module at a time
Courses are made up of distinct Modules that follow each other, but you need time to absorb each one to be fully ready for the next.
It is best to take a single module at a time, then let that sink in for a day or so. The learning process does not benefit from cramming everything at once; my brain needs time to digest properly.
Pause, rewind, rewatch
Get into the habit of pausing the video. Even if you think you understand the topic, ask yourself, “Do I fully understand that?” Then rewind a few times to make sure. Later on, rewatch the entire Module.
Handwritten notes help, a lot!
Buy a special notebook, just for photography (image 1, right), and print out these tutorial notes to write on.
Handwriting notes is a proven way to help recall, as you have a record of critical things to look back on. With handwriting, your recall can be so effective that you may not even need to re-read them.
Keep procrastination at bay by taking short breaks every 25 minutes or so. Set a timer and focus intently for that period. If your mind wanders, you can force yourself back with the promise of the upcoming break.
The break is also necessary because our brains need time to let all of the information sink in.
Try not to cram
Our brains are not good at taking in much information simultaneously; binge-watching is for entertainment shows; it is not as good for the learning process. Generally, I can focus hard for about 4 hours a day.
Have your camera with you
Your learning will be further enhanced if you keep your camera within easy reach. Regularly pausing, finding where a specific thing is on your camera, and then starting again will benefit your learning process.
Use your camera phone!
When you do not have your big camera with you, try using your phone. While many of the technical aspects discussed in my courses might not be possible, all of the compositional and creative ones are!
Photography is hard to learn, so be kind to yourself
Photography is challenging, particularly the technical side, so go easy on yourself. You would not expect a friend who took a half-day course in car mechanics to be able to fix a Porsche. Apply the same logic to photography.
If you have been away from formal learning for a while, keep in mind that the learning process can take a long time to become familiar again.