Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Online Classes for Jewelry Designers - Back to School

Online classes offer a classroom right at your keyboard! If you want to improve your skills, be inspired and connect with a creative community, an online class might be just what you need. It can also bring a nationally known instructor right to your studio without the expense of traveling to an event.

There are three types of online classes:
1. Digital download -  These are a video based tutorial that you can download to watch, these classes may or may not have handouts to follow along. These are more like video tutorials and you usually won't have contact with the instructor or other students. 
2. Online Workshop or Bootcamp - These courses tend to have lessons that span several weeks, offer videos and handouts, along with direct access to the instructor for questions and feedback.
3. Webinar: The third type of online class is a real-time webinar that takes place in a video classroom with the ability to chat directly with the instructor.

Online Class Shopping Tips
When looking at online classes the best ones are a combination of videos and worksheets that you can work through at your own pace. Those with lifetime access are an even better deal, but if an online class doesn't offer lifetime access, just make sure you print or download the materials in the allotted time. 

My favorite online classes have also offered a Facebook group to connect with and I found that the groups really bring the best of the classroom experience - which is learning from your peers as well as the instructor!

Classes that allow you to directly interact with the instructor through emails and Facebook groups are more like a real class experience and you should expect to pay a higher price for that one-on-one availability. 

Webinars are a fun way to take an online class and feel like you are part of an event! The biggest benefit to these events are being able to ask questions and chat directly with  the instructor and work best for lecture type classes rather than tutorials. Also make sure you can download the playback video after the event, in case it doesn't work with your schedule and be sure your internet connection and computer have the proper software and high-speed connection. . 

While there are a lot of free tutorials and projects online, I've found the classes I've paid for to be well worth the investment. In fact, some of the them have been the best money I've ever spent on my business!

Here are some online classes to check out: 

Polymer Clay Cane Design Bootcamp - Join me for this 4 week beadmaking course. It is packed with tutorials, inspiration and tools to find your own voice in your beadmaking designs. This is my second online course - we had such a great time I plan to offer new courses every few months.

Interweave - Along with digital books and videos Interweave offers Web Seminars with subjects ranging from jewelry making techniques to social media to tips to run your jewelry business.

Craftsy - A selection of affordable classes from quality instructors can be found on Craftsy.

CraftCast - An extensive collection of jewelry and mixed media videos from some of the best instructors!

Flourish & Thrive Academy - Flourish & Thrive offer several courses and I will say that I have taken them all, some several times and these are the best business courses for jewelry designers ever. EVER! You have to do the work to get your money out of the materials - take them as serious as a college course and you will see your business skyrocket. Join their mailing list for biz tips and to find out when their next course if offered.

It is back to school season after all and we are never too old to learn!

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