July 6, 2017 | Alyson Stanfield

How to Decide if a Class or Workshop is Right for You

Whenever a new class begins, I receive plenty of questions.

The gist of the questions is: This class looks enticing, but is it right for me?

Most often, my response isn’t a simple Yes or No, but a volley of questions in return intended to help the inquisitor come to a conclusion. Here’s what those questions look like.

©Peggy Crago, Bowl of Leaves. Wheel-thrown clay, slip-trailed, cut and finished with the majolica process, 5″ high by 14″ diameter. Used with permission.

Will you be physically at your home or studio to implement the lessons?

The lessons in Creative Content Camp can be consumed and implemented from anywhere in the world as long as there is connectivity.

On the other hand, the organizing class I previously taught required organizing a physical space. That’s a program you wouldn’t want to be away for.

If you’re going to be on vacation for one or more of the lessons, the decision whether or not to enroll in a class depends on your answers to a couple of (more) questions:

  1. Are you planning on doing any work during your travels? If you have built in a few hours a week to work, as I do during many of my trips, perhaps it’s doable.
  2. Can you make a plan – and stick to it – for your return? If you get your affairs in order so that you pick up (and catch up) where you left off, you’re likely to be more successful after the break.

Can you devote the time to the lessons and homework?

I tell students that I can share all of the wisdom I have, but it doesn’t do any good until they put it to use. Nothing makes me happier than to witness their growth throughout a course.

Can you maintain other commitments – especially the commitment you have made to your studio practice?

Can you commit a few hours to class lessons and homework or to practice a new studio skill?

Cabin Lake by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki
©Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki, Cabin Lake. Acrylic, 30 x 30 inches. Used with permission.

Can you use the information immediately?

If it’s an online class and you aren’t prepared to do the homework, you won’t be able to take advantage of the resources provided during a live class. More to the point, most of us are no more likely to do the lessons later than we are right now.

If it’s a live class – perhaps a studio skills class – do you have time to practice what you’ve learned?

Using new information while it’s fresh helps cement the new knowledge. Otherwise, you may have to relearn it.

Are you willing to interact with others and with me or your other teachers?

Will you share and comment in a forum? In a group, you are likely to learn as much from the students as you do from the teacher – but not if you don’t interact with them.

Perhaps the most important question to answer is …

Rainy Moments painting by Rachel Brask
©Rachel Brask, Rainy Moments 04 (Summer Greens). Oil, 40 x 30 inches. Used with permission.

Why are you enrolling?

What do you want to get from the class?

I ask students at the beginning of my programs what their goals are. You can do this for yourself if an instructor doesn’t ask. Are you seeking:

Do you need this class? Did you look at the lessons and discover information that might fill some of the gaps in your knowledge?

Do you not know this already? Or are you simply not implementing what you know?

The energy of a group class and the right instructor can help you implement what you haven’t been able to do on your own. But you need to accept responsibility for consuming the information and putting it to work.

Your Turn

How do you know if a class is or isn’t right for you?

10 comments add a comment
  • The Creative Content Camp is coming at the perfect time for me. I have got started on my gypsy portraits project and I want to promote it, and it is also an opportunity to reach out to a wider audience. I must be consistent with my blog and Facebook posts (gypsies are on Facebook) and I have promised to keep them up to date.
    So anything I can learn to make all this more – what is the word? I wish I didn’t suffer from aphasia. It doesn’t help!
    This project is also a great opportunity to get a email/contact address list started.

  • Thanks for including my art as one of your featured artists for this blog post! Creative Content Camp was a great investment and really helped me to develop more engaging content for my studio’s digital communications.

  • I have had troubles getting signed up for your class but am so excited that I am now connected to it! I took a class from you in Laramie a few years back on your book, “I’d Rather Be In the Studio”. I have kept it near and have so many highlights and sticky notes in it! Looking forward to going the next step with you!

  • D Thanaselvam

    Would it be possible to run a workshop on Creative Content Camp? I find it challenging to keep a discipline following the lessons over a period of time. I find Workshops to be effective. Would be good if you could share information on the upcoming ones accordingly.

    • D – I’m not interested in doing that because it’s just giving you information. I’m more interested in watching you implement the lessons. Perhaps someone else offers workshops on this topic.

  • D Thanaselvam

    Checked out the information regarding Big Table Art Retreats…am wondering if its relevant for me. I have been involved in creative work in the advertising business for 35 years and been painting for the past 7 years. Started off as a hobby and has progressed to some sales, became a member in a Art Guild in London and was curated by Dr Laura Henkel in Las Vegas. Am always keen to learn new things. Intend to take my Art journey in a big way.

  • Lisa Arnold Franklin

    Just came across you! First I have heard of you and CCC! Great find when I “dig” into social media!

    I look forward to visiting you again. I’m a watercolor artist and 2017 has been my first year venture into jury competitions!

    Thrilled to have been selected in three out of six and won awards!

Share Your Thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *