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5 August 2020

Online courses for design thinkers

Courses that won’t bore you stupid

With more time at home during these quieter times, there is certainly peer pressure to self-improve and scrub up on some professional skills. However, it is easy to be hesitant revisiting technical training without a trainer.

Once upon a time, learning Flash (Adobe Animate’s predecessor) was done via a book that came with a CD. The course didn’t do much for tweening but it certainly helped with insomnia.

But self-initiated training has come a long way. Today’s well-designed courses embrace technology to teach, delivering highly interactive learning experiences. No more boring videos of people dressed in appropriate business attire and monotone voices. Now there is a host of engaging activities, explosions of colour, fun pop-quizzes, UX features and even some jokes, to keep you awake, interested, retaining knowledge and actually wanting to learn.

Here’s a few online course recommendations for you to check out…

1. Design Thinking by IBM

Learn how to bring design thinking to every part of your organisation. This course explains what design thinking is, using real-world examples and tips from design leaders.

We have found it useful to explain to clients the value design thinking can bring to their projects. You can even earn a Practitioner Badge. Temporarily, all the IBM courses in this learning portal are free, and that includes some great toolkit resources.

2. Fundamentals of Digital Marketing by Google Digital Garage

Created by Google, The Open University and the Interactive Advertising Bureau this course gives a great overview of various digital marketing channels, including websites, content marketing, online advertising and e-mail marketing.

Useful for those new to online marketing, the course covers the marketing basics, and provides a good foundation for designers. Small business owners looking to take their business online or looking for new marketing approaches will also benefit.

Complete the course at your own pace, and you can earn certification to boast about on your LinkedIn profile. Best of all, it’s free.

3. 3D for Designers by Devon Ko

This course is solidly aimed at designers looking to venture into 3D. Most of us don’t realise that there is a Lite version of 3D Studio Max hidden inside our Creative Cloud subscriptions (it’s inside Adobe AfterEffects btw).

Ko’s genuine exuberance for the subject matter and YouTube-influencer-style delivery makes the course fly by. Her informal approach is deceiving though, as her course has been carefully constructed and you’ll love to work through it.

Our studio completed the course as a team, and every Thursday night we would order take-out and race through a unit or two, before letting loose on the platform and applying our new skills. It was amazing how quickly you can pick this up when it is explained properly.

The course requires a sign up as the course is released one unit per week, so users can post their creations and questions in the forums. You get a library of resources at the end so you can go back and scrub up your skills as required. There is a charge, but it’s worth it.

Highly recommended for those comfortable in Adobe Illustrator wanting to bring a new level to their designs.

Know of any more?

Covid-19 has seen many corporations demonstrating their generosity by providing access to online learning experiences for free or at reduced prices. All levels of government are also working with learning providers, like TAFE and Swinburne, to provide fee-free courses and reduced-fee courses in response to the crisis and skills shortages.

Jump on board and learn at your own pace, maybe a unit or two between episodes of Ozark. It’s not how you remember and it’s actually fun!

We’d be keen to add to this list so please share any other quality courses you’ve taken.

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