Craftsy for instance, has taken advantage of the world wide web by bringing the learning environment directly to people. It does this by offering online educational videos in an array of topics, from quilting and photography, to how to bake the perfect croissant to creating beautiful sugar flowers. Purchase the tutorials that interest you the most, and forever have lifetime access to that particular online video. Cake Masters, on the other hand, is completely dedicated to cake decorating and is another online learning environment where people can access cake related video tutorials online. Although both are fees based, both feature online videos from well known cake designers and individuals with various skills and experience in the cake world.
The big question though, and the one that I keep hearing is, which is better? Online learning or the traditional classroom learning format? Hmmm.....and hmmm....is right, as this question has been rolling around in my head since Craftsy, and now Cake Masters, started offering online cake decorating videos. As a former school teacher and with a background in education, here's what I've come up with: it depends on the person.
Yup, that's right....it depends on the person. I say this because, I would have students who I could explain things verbally to and they were good to go. Others, you could explain things ten different ways to Sunday and they still wouldn't understand what you were talking about - they needed the hands on approach. This happened no matter what age my students were, 5 or 55 years old. So you have to ask yourself:
- What kind of learner am I? Visual, auditory, or hands-on?
- What experience and knowledge do I bring to the table? Am I a complete newbie? Or do I know some of the basics?
- Where do I want cake decorating to take me?
If you are completely new to cake decorating, there is nothing more invaluable than walking into a cake decorating class and having someone take you through the basics of layering, crumb coating, boarders and covering a cake with fondant. Even a baking class or too, will help you understand why some cakes are better to use than others (i.e. pound, chiffon, sponge, etc.) depending on your cake project. If you have some experience and a few cake classes under your belt, online learning may be right up your alley. Online learning offers you:
- the convenience of learning "when" you want and "where" you want
I think online learning sites, like Craftsy and Cake Masters, have become popular because it has made cake decorating more accessible and affordable. Cake classes can easily run you a few hundred, depending on who you are learning from and where. Add a plane ticket and hotel, to make it happen and you can easily reach the $1000 mark. So depending on your budget and what you are able to afford, online learning may be just right for you. If your schedule is a bit scattered and busy, accessing a Craftsy video in your PJ's when you've finally managed to put the kids to bed might be the best in terms of accessibility for you.
Whatever your chosen medium for learning might be, I'm a firm believer that we are all life long learners, we never stop. So if it's signing up for a class at your local cake shop, or clicking your mouse (or swiping your iPad) to start your cake video, the medium you choose is the one that works for you at whatever point you are in your cake decorating career or path.