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Express Yourself – 5 Ways to Awaken Your Inner Artist

Express Yourself – 5 Ways to Awaken Your Inner Artist

As children, we would dream of drawing, painting, building things from scratch and living the dream with art. It was considered as something majestic and inspiring. Unfortunately, as we grow, this dream of living it up as an artist gets trampled by reality

The older we get, the more we realise that our occupation would have to be something more lucrative and quick to pick up. Art is not necessarily that, since it takes a lot of learning, practicing and overcoming obstacles in order to become even remotely successful; and the financial side of art doesn’t look promising, either.

For that reason, as adults we tend to work in other areas, those that are considered profitable, and, in a way, we put our creative side in the dark. However, no matter how busy we get, and our various obligations, we shouldn’t kill our creativity for the sake of other people and work. We should let it flourish, and enjoy every moment of it. Here is how it can be done, in five different ways to be precise. Some of them may just be hobbies, but they can also turn into jobs.

1. Start doing things

By sitting idly, waiting for things to come to you, you won’t achieve anything. In order to succeed and get the desired results, you will need to put some work into it. For example, if you want to be a painter, graphic designer or similar, start drawing. Buy a notebook and start creating figures, drawings and learn various techniques.

Even if your skill level is not perfect – do it. Fear never helped anyone, and it will only hold you back. Therefore, get down to work, and start creating.

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Moreover, if you like writing, start writing sentences, no matter how random they are. You could start off with a journal, or simply by putting your thoughts on paper. Through time this can evolve into something longer and more complex, like short stories.

Eventually, you can transition into running your own blog. First of all, it is easy to create a blog, even with no real coding knowledge, and can even be successfully monetized – if done right. The best part is that you can write about any subject you want, like fashion, personal stories or comments on life in general.

2. Find inspiration around you

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    One thing that will surely get you started is inspiration. Whatever you want to do, whether it is painting, singing or writing, you will need to start from somewhere, and that point is the small “a-ha!” moment, when the light bulb in your head turns on. To find this stimulus, you can do many things.

    For example, start traveling. Nothing provides more inspiration than discovering the world, with all its many cultures and diverse people. Actually, there is no need to leave your home country; you can also explore your country by going on weekend trips to lakes, mountains or other cities. There are beautiful locations all around you, at every corner.

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    Other than traveling, just enjoy life. Spend time alone, with friends or meet new people. Sharing thoughts with others could give you new insights into their worldviews and ways of thinking. From this, you could create so much, and such gorgeous art. After all, your art is the reflection of your life.

    3. Try something new by attending courses about it

    Have you been interested in something for years, but never had the guts to try it out? Well, now is your time. You can sign up for various classes about cooking, sewing or any other skill you can think of. Whatever it is, it will certainly help with making your creative juices flow.

    For example, you could attend a photography or a writing workshop. No matter if you already possess certain skills, going to these classes could help you learn something new or awaken some old, long-forgotten skills. Moreover, it gives you a nice base to start from as a rejuvenated artist.

    Unless you push towards it, creativity will never come to you. Therefore, do not be afraid to try new things, and learn about the ones you are already familiar with. Who knows, you may find new and better ways of expressing yourself, and starting something fresh.

    4. Start doodling

    Let’s say you want to perfect your drawing skills because you want to become an artist. Well, a good starting point would be to start doodling in your notebook. Actually, you might be already doing this, while waiting for time to pass, talking on the phone or similar situations. The action is oftentimes involuntary, but it can result in some amazing sketches. Not only is it good as a distraction, it is great as a way of improving creativity, and an exercise for artists.

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    Your small drawing could turn into something bigger. Imagine that you doodle the same thing over and over again, every time. Eventually you would become an expert in those particular types drawings, which could then be turned into a profitable business.

    For example, you could be great with typography. You could turn this random doodling into a proper job of designing signs, posters, making invitations or a bunch of other stuff. Not only would it be lucrative, but it would also help you become the artist you’ve always wanted to be.

    5. Read books, listen to music and keep learning

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      Lastly, the oldest and the best ways of finding yourself in the artistic world would have to be these: books, music and education. There is so much information you could gather from there, but you would also become more creative along the way. For instance, reading books leads you to a variety of different worlds, both real and unreal.

      In a way, you live a thousand lives and travel a thousand journeys. From all that, you learn, develop as a person, and develop as an artistic personality. Music has the same effect. Just think about how much you listen to it in your everyday life.

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      Some people cannot go without music, at all. They listen to it while commuting, while working, while sitting at home. Music provides inspiration, and an understanding of emotions. It is a healer and a teacher, at the same time.

      Finally, no matter your age, or how busy you think you are, you should never stop learning. Education is the most important part of your life, and it should always be encouraged. You could read educational books, attend classes – online classes count, as well – go to workshops, get more diplomas, etc.

      The best thing about education is that it can come from any interaction and any action you do. For example, you could learn a new thing just by talking to a friend or a colleague. You could also gain new knowledge by watching documentaries. The point is, knowledge is all around us. All you have to do is be willing to take it for yourself.

      Creativity doesn’t come with birth – it is learned and nurtured, throughout your life. To be an artist takes time, it takes skills and, most importantly, it takes love for what you do. Therefore, if you truly believe in art, pursue it no matter what.

      Forget about the naysayers, and obstacles; they can be surpassed and forgotten about. Move forwards and do what you love. That is all that matters when expressing yourself and becoming an artist.

      Featured photo credit: https://www.pexels.com/u/markusspiske/ via pexels.com

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      Ivan Dimitrijevic

      Ivan is the CEO and founder of a digital marketing company. He has years of experiences in team management, entrepreneurship and productivity.

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      Last Updated on November 5, 2019

      5 Learning Management Systems (LMS) for Effective Learning

      5 Learning Management Systems (LMS) for Effective Learning

      Businesses rely on talent to generate and sell value. Without skilled people to create its products, manage its operations and execute its strategies, a business would inevitably fizzle out of the game and leave better-staffed competitors to take the field.

      This is the reason why ambitious companies go great lengths to attract top talent,[1] shelling out millions of dollars in the process and bending traditional work policies just to bring highly skilled but demanding candidates into the fold.

      Clearly, the contours of business are changing. But so are the demographics of work.

      Millennials have become the dominant generation in the job market in terms of population, and some have already transitioned into leadership roles. Most millennials consider opportunity to learn and grow more important than overall compensation.[2]

      Companies also today expect employees to come equipped with razor sharp business acumen.[3] Unfortunately, there is an alarming discrepancy between the actual skills businesses need and those currently possessed by job candidates.

      To stay in the game, employers need to continually upgrade their training and skills development strategies to cover the entire employee lifecycle.

      What are Learning Management Systems (LMS)?

      Learning management systems are software-based solutions for authoring, presenting, consuming, storing, and tracking educational content and training materials. These systems aim to centralize all instructional content (e.g., lessons, training modules, instructional videos, presentation slides, worksheets, online quizzes, ebooks, takeaway notes, etc.) in one place.

      LMS enable instructors to design and deliver learning experiences to students, with the added capability of evaluating the effectiveness of the instructional materials and grading the learning progress of students.

      On the other side of the equation, learners use LMS to develop skills and acquire new knowledge virtually anytime and anywhere via the different channels and content formats made possible by digital technology.

      Over the years, a wide range of features and technologies have been integrated into learning management systems to help enhance the experience of training designers, instructors, and learners. These include cloud and mobile technology, artificial intelligence, responsive design, scheduling, gamification, data analytics, and interoperability with other applications.

      5 Best All-Purpose Learning Management Systems

      There are dozens of LMS vendors catering to the general market or to specific segments such as K-12 learning, higher education, and corporate training.

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      With so many options available, selecting the right LMS solution for your needs can be complicated and costly, especially when you end up adopting a platform that doesn’t exactly match your goals or requirements.

      Short of conducting a comprehensive audit of your needs and finalizing a learning roadmap, the safest bet would be to adopt full-featured but affordable LMS solutions.

      Based on user reviews, here are the 5 best LMS to help people gain knowledge, build skills, and achieve mastery:

      1. Canvas Network

      Launched by Instructure as an open source software in 2011, Canvas is an end-to-end cloud-based service originally engineered for the education sector.

      Widely adopted for K-12 and Higher Ed learning, Canvas can be repurposed for anything that involves an instructor, a subject matter, and a student.

      Used around the world by people of all ages and organizations of all types, Canvas arguably has the largest learning and support community in its class. It works on desktop computers, tablets and mobile phones.

      To get a glimpse of the platform’s fresh interfaces, you can visit the Canvas Network, a learning community that provides educational and instructional materials created by colleges, universities, corporate businesses, independent course developers, and other knowledge-sharing entities around the world.

      Hosting hundreds of interesting topics from data science to horticulture, the learning network also serves as evidence to the scope, capabilities, and popularity of the Canvas LMS platform.

      Canvas is hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS) infrastructure, which enhances the platform’s reliability, speed, scalability, and overall online performance.

      Additionally, platform adopters enjoy a low-risk environment since cloud-based solutions require no hard stops for version updates, upgrades, or system migrations.

      The Canvas website does not show a price matrix but says the service adopts a simple formula for computing fees: a one-time implementation fee and an annual subscription fee based on total number of users. It also promises free basic services for teachers who want to use the platform.

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      In addition to Canvas, Instructure also offers Bridge (an LMS designed for corporate environments), Arc (a video platform for online learning), and Gauge (an assessment management system).

      Check out this video if you want to learn more about Canvas Network:

      2. Google Classroom

      This free service from Google aims to improve the teaching and learning process using cloud technology, web apps, workflow simplification, and seamless communication between students and instructors.

      Using Classroom, educators can easily create and schedule classes, distribute assignments, send feedback, and grade quizzes all in one place. By streamlining processes, Classroom helps teachers save time and organize classes more effectively. Both students and teachers can also work using any device anytime and anywhere.

      Classroom works perfectly with other Google tools, having been launched initially as part of Google’s G Suite for Education. This LMS solution taps Google Drive for content storage and distribution, as well as Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides for the creation and sharing of instructional materials. Meanwhile it integrates Google Calendar for scheduling and Gmail for communication.

      With G Suite, other communication channels such as chat messaging, video conferencing, and a dedicated website are enabled.

      Easy to set up and manage, Google Classroom is free to use. One of my very first courses was actually hosted on Google Classroom.

      Going beyond the classroom environment, Google offers G Suite Enterprise for Education for large institutions. This suite provides enhanced search and analytics capabilities as well as advanced tools for enterprise communications.

      3. Moodle (Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment)

      If budget and capability equally top your list of LMS adoption criteria, then Moodle might just fit the bill. Which is to say there’s none (i.e., bill).

      Moodle is a free and open-source learning solution for distance education, workplace training, flipped classrooms, and other pedagogical environments.

      It is also a full-featured LMS supported by a robust community and a thriving developer ecosystem. Not surprisingly, Moodle is used in more than 15 million courses by more than 130 million users in 230+ countries.

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      Among other things, Moodle enables administrators and educators to create a dynamic and dedicated website to host organic, easily accessible, and highly customizable courses that can be experienced on desktops and mobile devices anytime and anywhere.

      Moodle provides a personalized and intuitive dashboard as well as a host of collaboration tools for content designers, teachers, and learners. A universal calendar, an efficient file management system, an automatic notification system, multimedia integration, and a progress tracking tool all come with the package.

      Check out this video if you want to learn more about Moodle:

      4. Absorb

      This platform recently bagged PC Magazine’s Editors’ Choice Award for Best LMS.

      Co-designed and built by former course authors, Absorb takes learning experience to the next level. This turnkey LMS solution is responsive, full-featured, and highly customizable for maximum impact.

      Course developers can orchestrate a wide range of experiences depending on audience or learning situation. In addition to surveys, polls, and e-commerce integration, Absorb supports formal online learning and certifications standards such as AICC, SCORM, and Tin Can.

      The user interface can also be modified to match the learner’s location, group, or department, allowing for a different look and feel for customers, channel partners, management trainees, and newly hired employees.

      Absorb supports all personal computing devices from desktops to mobile phones. There are also native or hybrid apps for iOS and Android.

      The only possible drawback to the platform’s powerful feature set is its pricing. The service reportedly implements a flat, one-time setup fee depending on your business and training requirements. According to the site, any plan comes with a dedicated success team for your account.

      Although small companies are welcome to try, midsize to enterprise-scale organizations are probably the best segment to readily adopt this LMS solution.

      Take a look at some examples of Absorb in this video:

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      5. Watershed Collaborative

      Created by a group of educators, this nonprofit rethinks the priorities of an LMS, asserting that too many systems miss the most essential elements of what makes learning stick. They promise a better user experience – emphasizing Learning before Management and System.

      Watershed aims to support an inquiry-based learning experience through an integrated mix of online and in-person learning strategies and interactions designed expressly for teams – including collaboration, reflection, and dialogue.

      While Watershed was founded initially to serve the K-12 education market, the company has since expanded its scope to cater to all types of teachers and learners with its video-rich, state-of-the-art platform.

      If you’re a mission-driven educator, content creator, institution, or business, this LMS may be the one for you.

      Watershed specializes in assisting you with the instructional design of courses and provides content production services to ensure top-quality video assets with lasting value. Their LMS makes it easy for course creators to continuously update and tailor content to support small and large groups, while ensuring the technology and instructional strategy supports communities of learners.

      Pricing varies based on products and services, but revenues support the nonprofit’s ability to make its platform and courses available at little or no cost for high-need educators and educational settings.

      Honorable Mentions

      There are dozens of LMS vendors in this growing market and the brands included in foregoing list are by no means the only viable options for companies or learning institutions looking to upgrade their learning infrastructure.

      Many other excellent services are worth checking out. These include:

      1. Docebo is an LMS designed for hyper-engaging students, employees, customers, and other learners. The system helps organizations identify and resolve competency gaps with strategic learning interventions.
      2. Cornerstone OnDemand is a talent, training, and performance management solution offered as an SaaS (Software-as-a-Service). This service enables learners to create personalized playlists of instructional content.
      3. Lessonly is an LMS solution that makes it easier to recall and reinforce whatever skills or knowledge you have learned through quizzes, coaching, and constant practice.
      4. Skillsoft is an online training and corporate learning platform developed by a two-decade old and billion-dollar company with the same name.
      5. D2L BrightSpace is a learning management system that has all the basics for delivering excellent, rich-media experiences for classroom or workplace training.

      Conclusion

      There are many ways to learn but some are more effective and meaningful than others. Whether you are a teacher looking to enhance classroom learning or an HR manager creating a long-term talent development plan for employees, the key to impactful learning is to understand and bridge the needs of learners, the goals of your institution, and the actual capabilities of the learning tools you are considering.

      Note that using multiple LMS platforms is possible although not recommended. On the other hand, adopting other learning solutions beyond LMS (such as podcasts, mentoring, and onsite in-person workshops) may significantly improve learning outcomes. Always go for products and plugins that seamlessly integrate into your core LMS tool.

      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

      Reference

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