With the development of online learning platforms and software services, the cost of self-advancement, or independent learning, has been greatly reduced. Whether it is the individual study of languages, musical instruments, art forms, and more, the content choices are more diverse than ever. Such a trend also reflects the fact that learning is no longer done just for the sake of getting a job or a diploma but is also a process of self-exploration and self-realization.
In conjunction with Kdan Mobile’s back-to-school theme “Unleash Your Inner Talent,” beginning on August 15th, we invited four Kdan Mobile employees to share their learning experiences, digital learning strategies, and pocket lists of digital learning tools. Whether o missing those college days or still live that campus life, we hope you can re-discover the fun and passion of learning through their stories.
Self-Learning Languages – A Combination of Physical Lessons and Digital Learning Tools
Emily, Manager of Marketing Department
It all began with soccer
Why learn Spanish? I started attending Spanish courses two years ago. Although my job deals with copyright translation, and understanding more languages would definitely help me professionally, “football” is the reason why I started to learn Spanish. I love all kinds of sports, and the Spanish football team is my favorite. I hope someday I can watch a football match in Spain.
Learning Spanish with Netflix
Since there are few opportunities to practice speaking Spanish in Taiwan, I have figured out a way to create a personal learning environment. In addition to having a regular Spanish class every weekend, I usually watch Spanish-speaking dramas on Netflix. Perhaps because I am a beginner, I have always thought that Spanish is a very fast-paced language.
Therefore, whenever I watch a drama, I initially try to understand the plot with English subtitles, then switch to Spanish subtitles over time. Through this process, I slowly began to understand the words and idioms used in the show. I love to watch TV series, so I feel comfortable with this learning method. Finding a comfortable learning style is indeed essential.
Overcoming grammar hell with NoteLedge
In addition to binging Netflix as a learning tool for Spanish, I also use NoteLedge. Noteledge is an app where I can make digital notes and sketches. I use it to take notes and organize learning materials in different notebooks. For example, I have a notebook in NoteLedge for grammar where I make tables to organize verb conjugations. It’s easy to view and memorize the conjugations with tables. I also have a notebook for daily conversation phrases, which includes supplemented pictures to help me understand the sentence better.
In my weekend Spanish class, my teacher uses a textbook, Google Slides, videos, pictures, and other auxiliary teaching materials. I also gather and organize these contents in NoteLedge notebooks with handwritten notes.
Gamification of learning: Create a native-speaking environment
Grammar is a nuisance in learning a new language, especially when you don’t use the language often. So, I recommend using Duolingo; it’s a fantastic tool for language learners. Duolingo is an app that uses games to encourage students to do simple daily exercises and quizzes. There are also interactive exercises for listening and speaking with common vocabulary and phrases, which is practical for learners who cannot immerse themselves in a native language environment.
Advantages of digital learning tools
Technology has made it a lot easier for a language learner like me. Aside from the interactive design and the fun exercises the tools offer, these learning resources are becoming more diverse and dynamic than ever. Every day can be the first day of school! I look forward to traveling to Spain soon and speaking like a local!
Recommended Kdan Learning Tools:
NoteLedge helps you organize verb conjugations in Spanish and make picture cards to memorize sentence patterns.
Online Courses – Digital Art Creation and Small Rituals of Life
Afra, Assistant Manager of Marketing Department
Re-designing the learning path with creative drawing
I took a lot of online creative drawing courses last year. I have always been an avid learner of online classes because they are not limited by time and space and are a saving grace for self-learners! Moreover, you can learn from instructors worldwide (Many online course platforms have subtitles in multiple languages and even dubbing for non-English course videos).
I used to take classes primarily for work needs. However, when my parents retired, it made me ponder what my life would look like without work. Therefore, I decided to spend more time cultivating my hobbies, like art and drawing. Since I often co-work with artists, illustrators, and animators because of my job, I also hope to experience the joy of the creative process and resonate more with them.
Every mistake is a new possibility
Because of my interest and job, my iPad is installed with five or six different types of drawing software. However, many creative drawing courses start from physical creations, and students must experiment with various physical media forms. Trying to work on paper has been excruciating for students like me, who are used to the “undo/redo” button and fancy digital brushes; I may have to try ten or even twenty times from composition to completion. Additionally, I must prepare drawing tools and media, which also requires a lot of work.
Creative drawing does not require solid drawing skills but depends heavily on expressing inner feelings and outlooks through different colors and mediums. The course lecturer once mentioned: “Every mistake is a new possibility.” He always described a mistake as “interesting.” I’m keen on the idea (I mean…at least in terms of the drawing). It is indeed hard to resist the temptation to kick back and relax after getting off work. But once I start the lesson, I can keep watching the videos until midnight. After completing a drawing, I post it on my social media account. It has become a ritual for me.
Learning is to be the better version of myself
I truly believe learning unlocks the possibilities for everyone to achieve maximum potential, whether for work or simply for bettering oneself. As a student, it may be easy to put aside one’s interests to meet society’s expectations. However, the journey of self-understanding and exploring never starts too late, even as an adult.
Recommended Kdan learning tools:
Animation Desk, is a good helper for creative drawing ideas, creative thinking, and small animation creation!
Master Business Presentation – Always Ready To Show Your Best Self
Roger, PR Specialist
Online courses – the best self-paced learning tool
I am also a big fan of online courses! I purchased a course about on-stage presentation this year. Due to my job requirement, I have more presentation opportunities than others. However, I still want to improve my presentation skills and take my briefing, presentation design, and expression skills to the next level!
Preparing myself for an opportunity with self-learning
Let’s say you have an unexpected occasion to report work performance to your boss for ten minutes. Wouldn’t it be a pity if you couldn’t present the value of your work well? Of course, presentation is not a skill you use every day, but a good presentation can be the key to success in many crucial moments. That’s why I decided to sign up for the course. I want to be on top of the game when the opportunity arises.
I am not afraid to go on stage, and I like to collect presentation ideas and put them into a presentable format. However, I believe there is still a gap between my constructed thoughts and my actual presentation. There is still a lot of room for improvement and learning for me. Many resources are readily available on the internet, but online courses allow busy office workers(like me) to acquire knowledge quickly and systematically.
Self-regulated learning during the miscellaneous time
Even in an online course with a reasonably flexible learning schedule, it is not easy to set aside time regularly. Due to the pandemic, I was locked at home on weekends, and it became a perfect time to learn new skills. I forced myself to reduce my time on social media and use this time to read more startup books as well as complete my online course, “Learning How to Start a Presentation.” With many new online platforms and tools, learning is actually fun. I seldom get bored.
Make use of free learning resources
Many people might worry about the course fee. Thus, I also recommend searching for learning resources on YouTube. Most of these videos are free, and you may also discuss them with others in the comment sections. Interaction with users interested in the same topic as you is a friendly way to get started, especially for those unsure whether they want to invest time in that topic.
Ahaslides, Inspod. The former is very suitable as interactive teaching materials for quizzes, and the latter is for taking notes in YouTube videos to help you absorb knowledge faster.
Send Me a Rose – Sharing Experience of Self-Learning Musical Instruments
Mia, Technical Assistant Manager
The Encounter with Chinese Lute
When I was little, a classmate played the song “Give Me a Rose” with a Chinese lute, which I thought was super cool! Since then, I’ve always wanted to learn this song. My parents sent me to learn many different musical instruments such as piano, cello, violin, etc. However, I rarely had the opportunity to be exposed to instruments of Asian origin. It was not until two years ago, when I had some free time at work, that I decided to sign up for Chinese lute courses.
Pipa, or the Chinese Lute, is a traditional Asian string instrument, the strings of which can be plucked with a nail plate for a wide range of sounds. Different playing techniques and hand movements can create many timbres and voice expressions. In traditional music, the Chinese lute can simulate the sounds of carriages, cannons, or raindrops. The Chinese lute is not an easy instrument to master; it has a lot of complex techniques.
During class, my teacher also taught me many historical facts about the invention of the pipa and how ancient Chinese characters can be used in musical notation. I was quite amazed as someone who had only been exposed to Western musical instruments.
Letting videos be my personal Pipa teacher
It requires both left and right hands to perform Pipa skills. You need ten swift fingers to perform different techniques. In the beginning, I had difficulties accentuating my finger muscles.
I had to practice extensively to warm up the joints and muscles I usually didn’t use. While practicing a string instrument, I seemed to be able to understand what it is like to connect my brain, nerves, and muscles. I assume this feeling is similar to athletes or dancers who have turned muscle movement into instinct acts.
Outside of class, I would watch Pipa performance videos online and try to imitate the timbres played in the video. It is pretty satisfying that I have successfully replicated a particular timbre. Skills that I struggled to accomplish are now easy to do! Looking back, the kid who played “Give Me a Rose” when I was a child must have also practiced for a long time.
The benefits of adult learners
As an adult learning a new instrument, I have less time for practice and more struggles training my muscles to get used to playing the Pipa. Nonetheless, I take learning Pipa seriously because I am spending my own money. So, if your financial state permits you, I think it would be a wonderful experience to fulfill your childhood dream by learning a new skill.
Recommended Kdan Learning Tools:
NoteLedge, because you can record sounds or videos during the practice session while making notes as a reference for learning.
“Write-on Video” app is excellent as well. Perhaps I can share my performance video one day when I have improved!
If interested in the tools mentioned in this post, you can download them on the Apple App Store, Google Play Store, or Microsoft Store app. The free apps include many useful features, but if you consider upgrading for the full features, please don’t miss our Back to School Sale.
Enjoy a 50% off discount in Kdan Creative Store. You are not alone in your journey of learning with us!