Wednesday, August 20, 2014

How Do You Learn? – a post by Chris Eboch

What's the best way to learn?

It depends on each individual's optimal learning style. Some of us do well with printed material – books, magazines, blog posts. (There is even debate about learning from printed books versus electronic formats.) Others do better listening to an instructor. Some need visuals, or must be physically involved in an activity.

Do an Internet search on "learning styles" to find out more. You can also try a quick online survey to find your learning style here. (FYI, I came out at 92% linguistic and also scored highly in intrapersonal and interpersonal, but low in musical and visual-spatial. So I guess I should talk to people.)

If you’re a writer, understanding your learning style may help you improve your craft. Should you be taking live classes or is an online correspondence school a better fit? Can you really learn everything you need to know just from reading books on the craft?

There's also a relatively new technology gaining steam: webinars.

 At the recent SCBWI Summer Conference in Los Angeles, the subject of webinars came up during the regional advisor meeting. Small regions were especially interested, as they may not have the money and attendance numbers to pay for bringing in speakers. Webinars are also good for spread-out regions, or even large, active regions that want to make classes more accessible to those who live outside the main urban areas. And webinars can work well for people who simply have a hard time leaving home, for whatever reason – needing to care for children or aging parents, health problems, difficulty driving at night.

Last Tuesday, I presented a webinar on Writing for Children's Magazines for the combined SCBWI Texas regions. They are holding webinars every other month, and people outside of Texas can also sign up. (SCBWI members pay $10, others pay $35.) I have a three-hour webinar set up in September for the Caribbean regions. Since the Caribbean has members spread out over multiple islands, it would be nearly impossible to bring everyone together for an event. And a live event would be too expensive, because of the travel costs, for both speakers and attendees.

I've also done webinars through a company called Delve Writing. We are experimenting with what works best as a business model, whether it's a class that meets once a week for several weeks, or a single class. I expect to have a couple of workshop options set up this fall.

By the time this posts, I'll be in Connecticut, at the International Women's Writing Guild retreat. There I'll be teaching a workshop on plotting that meets for four days in a row, leading critique groups, and participating in a Q&A panel on traditional and indie publishing. I'm looking forward to hanging out with other writers in person. I enjoy being able to see my students. It's nice to walk among them while they do exercises, so I can offer extra help to those who need it. Given the choice, I’d present live.

But living in the center of New Mexico, travel is an expense and hassle. Being able to offer lower-cost workshops online is a great option, for me and students.

If you would like to be added to my mailing list for writing workshops, sign up by sending an e-mail to me through my website contact page.)


  1. I am a little bit of everything learner...and say I LOVE webinars. Thanks for the heads up!

  2. Webinars may be the wave of the future! Thanks for all the info, Chris--and I hope you enjoyed yourself in Connecticut.

  3. Just about to pick up your book on plotting, Chris!


Thanks for adding to the mayhem!