The image above is from the Keyword Planner on the Google Ads site I used when I entered a couple of general search terms like, “learn woodworking” and “woodworking classes” while planning a Google ad. What struck me was, the top three keyword ideas all had the phrase “near me” as a qualifier at the end of the searches. It’s obvious from the first part of the search term, woodworking, woodshop, carpentry, etc., people across the country are interested in learning woodworking. But I really started to think about why people add the term “near me” to something like woodworking classes, which it’s obvious that woodworking is the primary interest.
Is it because that’s how people traditionally learned skills in the past? Is there more of a social aspect to their request, joining a group of people with similar interests? Do they think they’ll learn faster with a qualified instructor in the front of the room and giving them feedback? All good reasons of course, but is the only way to really learn something today, and get good feedback on your projects going into a classroom environment? Here’s a quick fact from a Forbes article for you: E Learning is projected to grow to $325 BILLION by 2025! What this tells you is, how we learn is most definitely changing.
Woodworking Classes Online
With the effects of Covid still fresh in our minds, and the explosion of online education hitting the market even before Covid, it’s no wonder we’re seeing market projections as big as $325 Billion. But how do you solve the problem of trying to learn something like woodworking that’s obviously a hands-on skill? Are there ways to learn woodworking and other hands-on hobbies, get critical feedback and still have the ability to work on your own terms, times, and at your own pace? We believe the answer is yes and we’re going to bring our ideas to market in May of ’22.
We intend to answer the questions above by creating a social platform targeting informal adult education, where adults, who choose to pursue a specific interest or hobby like woodworking, can follow a 9-step path along with others who share similar interests. This platform, where people can share learning experiences through social engagement and access to community provided materials, will be developed with the concept of members helping members. This community-based social learning platform will enhance the learning experience where adults who want to take on a hobby, and along with other members of their “crew” (people grouped by the software starting at relatively the same skill level) can progress over time through a consistent 9 step process to achieve their desired level of expertise. We also intend for the member to be able to invite others and have them join in their crew so friends and family can learn together and have fun doing it.
7 key features to make this approach relevant
- Provide a learning framework – When we learn, we need a starting point and an end goal and all the steps in between on how to achieve our goal. If you’re anything like me and you trying to learn something like woodworking on your own, you go to YouTube, watch a ton of videos but you’re not quite sure which skills you should focus on early in your journey and which ones can wait. When you first start and you’re just learning the skills, how do you know the right order? Learning the right basic skills in the right order will make your learning journey more efficient and therefore more satisfying.
- Small Group Learning – There’s a lot of research out there that talks about the benefits of group learning. Look at this short article from Rutgers that provides 10 concise reasons why group work can benefit you. But beyond just the benefits from learning within a group, wasn’t the promise of Facebook, Hangouts, and LinkedIn to make us feel more connected to our close friends and family? But how big have those networks become? We plan to limit the size of crews so you can build close relationships with new people of similar interests and hopefully build real, long-tern relationships.
- Data/Analytics – Businesses are not the only ones that benefit from Big Data and the analytics that surround it. Do you look at your spending trends from your bank? Investments in your 401K? App usage on your phone, workout statistics, heart rate, food consumption, etc. The list goes on and on. What if you could see your historic data from your early projects and compare it to more recent ones? We’re building timers into the task management portion of the app so can analyze if you’re getting faster or slower at a specific task and provide you with historic measures to help you analyze your growth. We think that will have a very positive effect on your progress towards your goal.
- Project History – Most of us take a lot of pics these days (sometimes I forget to take the before pics, but that’s just me) and they’re scattered all over our phones. But to get truly good at something, you need more than just a picture history of where you started and where you are today. What about having project data tied to those pictures so you could have both the pictures and proof from the fore-mentioned data to show you exactly how you’re progressing? That will have tremendous benefit to your learning enjoyment.
- Project grading and feedback – One of the real benefits of being part of a crew (group) is the camaraderie built within the crew. But more importantly, how about building in a grading system that provides a framework for honest feedback that comes from within your crew? Forums like Facebook and Reddit groups are good for asking specific questions but not so good for honest feedback. They’re just mostly full of superficial comments with very little critical questioning. We plan to provide a methodology where you must produce projects and get passing grades from your peers to move from one level to another.
- Built in Forums – Forums are a good way to ask questions about certain topics. We’re including 3 separate forums depending on your needs. The first will be just within your crew, so if you have a question about a specific video, or requirement for moving to the next level you can ask within your group. The next is the entire community which will go across all crews and levels. And the final forum will be a list of people on the platform that you’ve chosen to follow because of skill or friendships.
- 1 on 1 Assistance – Our goal is to attract real Master Woodworkers so they can be available for 1 on 1 sessions for our members in real time for an additional fee. Think of this like Uber, the Master makes themselves available for assistance and the member with specific questions can request help via a voice or video call.
Real learning is a journey, whether your goal is to stay on the long road to becoming a skilled master, or just long enough to master a skill. This platform will be designed to help all those paths no matter what your individual goals are. We are building a platform that we think will change the way people think about wanting to learn a hobby like woodworking, where they can learn in their own home or shop and still be a part of a close-knit community. We’re excited to bring this new way of learning a hobby to you and hope you’ll join in the fun when we release in May of ’22!