Time is of the essence when learning

Time is of the essence when learning

I choose time is of the essence as a post title to talk about an often misunderstood aspect of eLearning: the apparently perpetual nature of DVD and other self-instruction training courses.

Let’s dissect the “time is of the essence” phrase. It’s part of United State’s contract law and means, more or less, that there’s a finite amount of time to complete whatever the parties agreed upon.

All of VFX Wizard’s online trainings are time limited. Therefore time is of the essence in order to complete a training course. Exceeding the agreed upon time frame, invalidates the course and a student can not even re-enroll in the same course for credit.

Now, the question is: why enforcing a time limit?

I’ll let one of our students, Gioele Fusaro, answer this question with his unsolicited testimonial: “unlike written or video tutorials, that are always available, here you are bound by a deadline that forces you to go ahead as fast as you can. For me, at least, having a book or a CD means I can always procrastinate and find an excuse to study later…”.

Gioele has caught in full the principle behind time-limited trainings. It’s not a matter of money: in fact, it would be much more rewarding, money wise, to allow students to buy courses and not be bothered to actually follow them.

On the other hand, the main reason why VFX Wizard’s online school established itself as an authoritative eLearning provider and many students rate it as “better than a classroom based course” lies in this detail: we want our students to learn, and succeed. We don’t want them to buy courses and then forget about them.

How many times did you buy a book and left it gathering dust on a shelf, because “you just don’t have time, right now”?

If this happened at least once (and it happened to me, for sure) then you know what procrastination means. It’s part of the human nature.

There’s always something calling out loudly for our attention. Kids, work, a spouse, an unexpected journey — albeit not the same kind of journey Bilbo Baggins will face at the end of this year.

Each one of these distractions has its own importance. Some are really, really important. That’s why the eLearning system has the Pause function: to allow everybody to halt the course for a while — a safety measure, some sort of safety net around the issues that may arise during a course.

But this safety net does not last forever. It’s time limited. It allows students to face the issue, solve it, then go back to their course. And this is the single most important feature in the system: it forces students to apply themselves to learn and practice their skills.

Admittedly, this is not for everyone

Most people will not take action. The vast majority of prospects will never even try out the free trial. It’s there, waiting for them, and they could learn a lot from the free lessons.

Yet, they’ll never take action and start the free trial plan. But a rather small minority will. Dropping out after the first two or three lessons.

Yet, an even smaller amount of students will complete the free trial and purchase a full course. Study it, lesson after lesson, while the clock ticks and time runs out.

Those are the students that successfully complete the courses, that learn and act upon what they have learned.

The reason why so many students find a job right after taking a course has nothing to do with the course’s quality (even if the courses themselves are top notch).

Success is in the student. It belongs to him or her. It’s part of a students’ DNA, and Gioele’s beautiful “angry rabbit” is a perfect example of this: by understanding that time is of the essence he didn’t waste time. He followed the lessons, one after another, experimented, applied the techniques, and in just two months he was able to sculpt an original zBrush character thanks in part to Daniele Angelozzi’s amazing zBrush lessons.

But mostly thanks to his own willpower and willingness to approach the course following step by step the course structure, and forcing himself to stay on track. It’ a matter of focus, you know.

Kudos, Gioele, as you possess skills that go beyond 3D graphics: the ability to face a challenge and win it.

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