Learning Project 2.0 – Recap and Reflections

This semester in ECMP 455 I chose to tackle the Learning Project for my major assignment. The purpose of the infamous Learning Project is to learn a skill that is significant and complex using online sources (i.e. videos, text resources, podcasts, etc.) and to document and share learning progression openly in an online space. I had the opportunity to do a Learning Project when I took ECMP 355 last year in the spring semester, and I enjoyed the assignment so much that I decided to do it again. For my ECMP 455 Learning Project (or Learning Project 2.0), I learned how to cook. Here’s a quick recap of my Learning Project experience this semester:

Learning Project Recap

Blog Post #1: Learning Project 2.0

  • Introduction and rationale for my Learning Project
  • Factors to consider: cost and nutrition
  • Goals for the end

Blog Post #2: Cost-Effective Cooking

Blog Post #3: Perfecting Pasta

  • Recipes:
  • Saving money by buying in bulk
  • Starting to realize the cost of living on my own  — going to need to put money into stocking up on basic, everyday ingredients and spices
  • Pictures showing progress

Blog Post #4: Beef, Broccoli, and Bananas

Blog Post #5: A Healthy Twist on Spaghetti and Meatballs

  • Recipe:
  • Working with new ingredients
  • Critiquing resources: written vs. tutorial videos
  • Learning to be more adventurous in the kitchen — cooking becoming less of a chore
  • Pictures showing progress

Blog Post #6: The Breakfast Casserole That Took a Hundred Hours

Blog Post #7: Boomerang and Buttermilk Waffles

Blog Post #8: Crock-Pot Chicken Noodle Soup

  • Recipe:
  • Trying new appliances: crock-pot
  • Saving money by cooking in large quantities
  • Boomerang videos showing progress

Reflections on my Learning Project Experience

Going into my Learning Project, I didn’t really have a specific end goal in mind. All I wanted was to simply increase my cooking skills so that, by the end, I could make more than just pasta. Over the course of the semester, I feel as though I have learned a lot. I went from having quite limited cooking skills to mastering a ton of new recipes, working with new ingredients, trying new kitchen appliances, and learning how to cook on a budget — a skill that will be very useful to me once I move out and have to start being conscious of how much money I am spending on things like food.

If I were to do this project again, I would narrow it down, for example, to just learning how to cook different dinners or different lunches, just one type of cuisine, or just crock-pot recipes. One of the challenges that I continuously encountered in my Learning Project was the fact that there are literally thousands of cooking resources available online. This wasn’t necessarily always a good thing — it was overwhelming, and it made choosing what to cook each week very difficult. Even though I feel like I learned a lot from this Learning Project, I think I could have learned more, specific skills had I narrowed my project down. This would be something to consider for next time.

I also recognize that it was a privilege to be able to do a project like this. Even though budgeting was a factor that I considered throughout my Learning Project, I realize that my $25/meal budget was still quite a bit of money, especially when I was doing it week after week. I recognize that a lot of people cannot afford the luxury of buying fresh produce and that canned/boxed food is a reality for many people.

It may have not always been a smooth learning experience, but I can definitely see the benefits of learning a skill online and sharing about progress openly in an online space. Through my Learning Project, I was able to learn from and critically analyze a  variety of online resources, I was able to share my learning progress openly through my blog and through Twitter, and I was able to receive feedback and support from my classmates. Overall, I’m glad that I had this experience again. Thanks for following my learn-to-cook journey!

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Final Thoughts (And Final Braids)

#LearningProject update:

For the past two weeks I have been learning how to braid, and my end goal was to learn how to French braid my entire head by the end of the semester. Well guess what?

I did it!

But let me just say this: it wasn’t an easy feat. Learning how to French braid is probably the most difficult skill that I have learned throughout this entire project.

 

Before I even attempted to French braid my whole head, I practiced French braiding on small sections of my hair, and eventually, I learned how to French braid my bangs. This tutorial video was the main resource that I used when I first began learning how to braid. As I mentioned in my previous post, I also practiced on a Barbie doll that I borrowed from my little cousin. Although the Barbie isn’t a tech resource (whoops!) it really came in handy — it was helpful to be able to practice my French braiding technique on real (fake) hair

 

When I was finally ready to attempt French braiding my whole head, I watched these two tutorial videos:

Although the videos are very similar, and both provide good instructions, I actually found the second video a little more helpful. When you French braid you own hair you are essentially blind — can’t see what’s going on in the back of your head. The woman in the second video French braids her own hair (whereas the woman in the first video braids her daughter’s hair), so it was helpful to see how to hold and cross my hair. It took me several hours and multiple attempts, but I finally got the hang of it. The braid in the picture above is a little crooked, and it’s not as smooth as I would have liked, but overall I think it turned out really well!

And with that, my #LearningProject has now come to an end; the past six weeks have just flown by. Check out this recap of my entire #LearningProject experience:

#LearningProject Recap

#LearningProject: Making It Meaningful

  • Introduction and rationale for my #LearningProject
  • Pictures demonstrating my level of mastery at the beginning
  • Goals for the end

Buying a Curling Iron: A Not-So-Simple Task

  • Conducting research: what factors to consider when purchasing a curling iron
  • Pictures of my brand new (and first ever!) curling iron

Curling 101

Five 5-Minute Hairstyles That Took All Night

  • “Quick and easy” hairstyles
  • Frustrated by lack of decent resources — pictures difficult to follow
  • Pictures comparing how the hairstyles were supposed to look vs. how they actually turned out

Mastering the Art of the Messy Bun

  • Advantages of working with second or third-day hair vs. clean hair
  • Pictures showing the three different messy bun styles that I tried
  • Struggling with being a perfectionist

#LearningProject: Trials and Tribulations

  • Reflecting on how my #LearningProject has been going thus far
  • Describing the many challenges of learning a skill online
  • Sharing some of my favourite resources (TheSmallThingsBlog.com)
  • Critiquing resources: how-to pictures vs. tutorial videos
  • Sharing personal frustrations

Braiding For Beginners

  • Final task: Learning how to braid
  • Describing regular vs. French braid
  • Sharing braiding resources for beginners
  • Pictures of braiding progress

 

Reflections On My #LearningProject Experience

I have struggled with my hair my whole life — it used to be something that always got me down. My hair is very flat, fine, and frizzy, and the only two things that I could successfully do with my hair were straighten it or put it up into a ponytail. I was bored and frustrated with my hair. I chose to learn how to do my hair for my #LearningProject because I couldn’t think of a more personally meaningful skill for me to learn.

Going into my #LearningProject, I didn’t really have a specific goal or outcome in mind that I wanted to achieve. All I wanted was to learn a variety of hairstyles and techniques so that I could do more than simply straighten my hair. Overall, my #LearningProject wasn’t easy; it was challenging and extremely frustrating at times (check out this post where I describe some of the challenges of learning a skill online as well as my own personal frustrations), but I feel as though I have learned a lot. I went from having virtually zero hair-styling experience to learning a ton of different hair styles and techniques.

It may have not been a smooth learning experience, but I can definitely see the benefits of learning a skill online and sharing about progress openly in an online space. Through my #LearningProject, I was able to learn from and critically evaluate a variety of online resources like blogs, websites, and videos; I was able to share my progress openly through my blog and through the #LearningProject hashtag on Twitter; and I was able to receive feedback and words of encouragement and support from my PLN. Another benefit to learning a skill online is that it is flexible — I was able to learn at my own pace and choose resources that were best for me.

Overall, I’m glad that I had this experience. Thanks for following my #LearningProject journey!