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You Can Have A Creative Life If You Follow These Rules

You Can Have A Creative Life If You Follow These Rules

We all want a creative life, but actually living one can feel like a challenge at times. The thing to remember though is that living a creative life is a habit more than anything else, and as with all habits there are certain rules you can follow that make sticking to it easy.

If you’re wanting to life a more creative life, follow these ten rules and you’ll soon find living a creative life to be easier than you imagined.

1. Learn to say no to things that don’t light you up

To live a creative life you need to be specific about what you do and don’t let into your life. By saying no to things that don’t light you up and excite you, you’ll be making room for the things that do. You can’t do everything, so make sure the things you are doing are the very best for you and your creativity.

2. Let curiosity guide you

Let your curiosity guide your creativity and really take the time to explore. Being creative is all about exploration and discovery, so let your imagination run wild and be open to the possibilities of what could be. You never know what amazing opportunities might come your way.

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3. Expect, accept & embrace your natural imperfections

Nothing is perfect, and neither is your creative work. It’s easy to fall into the trap of lamenting your imperfections but they are natural and completely normal. Creative work isn’t meant to be ‘perfect.’ It’s meant to be real and raw, made by a human being not by a machine. Embrace the imperfections in your work and you’ll see yourself flourish creatively.

4. Don’t compare yourself with others

Comparison can be a huge trap in living a creative life. The problem when you compare is that you’re not comparing like for like. When you compare your work, with all its known inconsistencies and struggles, to someone else’s carefully curated presentation of their work, you are comparing two completely different things. It’s simply not a fair comparison, and you will lose every single time. Remember your creative work is wonderful and unique just as it is, there is no need for comparison.

5. Make the space and time live a creative life

Living a creative life is easy when you have the time and space dedicated to make it work. Even if you work a full time job and live in a tiny apartment, you can still make a small time and space for your creativity. It might be as small as a simple desk in the corner of your lounge room and small daily commitment to show up and create.

6. Create a daily creativity habit and stick to it

There’s amazing power in forming a daily creativity habit, and it doesn’t need to be a huge time commitment either. If all you have time for is 30 minutes a day, start with that. Commit to a specific time of day every single day and make that your time to create. Schedule it in like an appointment and stick to it as part of your daily routine. There is amazing power in forming a daily habit, it’s time to start harnessing it for your creativity.

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7. Stop being your own worst critic

For all the criticism you might get from others, it’s quite likely that you are actually your own worst critic. Think about the way you’re talking to yourself about your creative work and consider whether it’s negative or positive. If you find it’s leaning towards the negative end of the spectrum, put an end to it by affirming some more positive thoughts. Your work is good enough, you have enough time and you will get there!

8. Keep learning

To live a creative life, it’s important that you never stop learning. There are so many great creators who have come before us and there is a lot you can learn from them. Whatever your particular creative field, make an effort to learn something new every week. It could be as simple as reading the story of a great creator in your field or as in-depth as learning a completely new style or technique. Learning keeps your creative mind active and your ideas fresh.

9. Expose yourself to new experiences

Living a creative life and creating every day means you need to expose yourself to new experiences. Drawing an idea from within during the creative process can be difficult at times, particularly when you are lacking experiences to draw from. Living is what informs your creativity. It is where you will draw your inspiration from and its importance cannot be underestimated. So get out there and do something new!

10. Keep showing up no matter what

If you want to live a creative life, you need to keep showing up and creating no matter what. We all have down days when we’re not feeling inspired but the most important thing to remember is that inspiration comes from doing. The more you show up and engage with creative work, the more inspired you’ll feel.

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11. Connect with a creative community

Creative community is so important. It will keep you on track, motivated, inspired and give you an amazing support system. If you want to live a creative life, find some creative people in your area to connect with.  They’ll be there for you to support and encourage you in your work, while you’re cheering them on with theirs too.

12. Don’t restrict yourself to one creative medium

Just because you consider yourself to be a writer, painter or designer, does not mean that’s all you should ever do.  If you’re feeling like you want to explore a new creative area then let yourself do that.  Living a creative life isn’t about pursuing one creative medium relentlessly, it’s about experimenting and finding what works.

13. Share your creative accomplishments

Always share your creative accomplishments with others! You’ve worked hard to get there and your good work shouldn’t go unrecognized.  Show off your creative work with pride.

14. Let your creativity evolve over time

Your creativity should be ever evolving, growing and changing. Don’t box yourself in just because you think your style or medium is all you should ever do. The magic of living a creative life is that you can steer it in any direction you choose. Let your creativity evolve with time, it might surprise you.

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15. Don’t forget to have fun (because creating is meant to be fun!)

Don’t forget to enjoy yourself, creativity is meant to be fun! Let your imagination run wild, experiment with different materials and when the pressure is getting too much, create something just for the fun of it. No goals, no pressure – just creativity running free!

Photo credit: Abby Lanes, Flickr, CC

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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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