Shows quilted class sample of of virtual teaching

Virtual Teaching: The Cutting Edge of the Quilting Industry

Over the past few weeks, we have learned from Lyric Kinard about the lifestyle and finances of a quilting teacher. We followed the evolution of online learning and touched on the recently emerging trend of teaching live virtual quilting classes. If you missed that, be sure and go back to the beginning of this teaching series. This week, we will continue our chat with Lyric, and analyze the future of teaching quilting.

How Does a Virtual Quilting Class Work?

I wondered what to expect before I took my first live virtual quilting class. I think this video does a great job of explaining how it works.

After taking my first live online class, I was hooked. There are so many benefits to this approach.

The Advantages of Virtual Teaching for Students

We’ve discussed how teaching quilting online evolved from written content to pre-recorded on-demand workshops. Then, we followed the path of one of the most experienced virtual quilt teachers on the planet, Lyric Kinard. We learned how recently teachers have begun presenting full programs and workshops live on platforms like Zoom. These extraordinary times have changed the whole world and the role technology plays in our human interaction. If you missed that, be sure and go here for full details.

Shows art quilt sample for virtual teaching
Mill Wheel XI Progress
By Lyric Montgomery Kinard
Example of Principles Taught in The Artist’s Toolbox Online Course

These days, the question everyone is contemplating is what will the new normal be. When it’s safe to resume large in-person gatherings, will quilters still be interested in learning quilting online? Due to the pandemic restrictions, quilters now realize there are many advantages to this approach. I think it’s quite likely that virtual teaching is here to stay.

1. Access to Teachers from Around the Globe

For one, we can now take a class from a teacher on the other side of the world. You may recall from three weeks ago that Lyric waited about 10 years for offers to travel and teach internationally. Since guilds foot the bill for travel expenses and lodging, international opportunities are limited. Online learning broadened the world and opened up possibilities for learning from teachers who might never make it to your hometown.

Shows quilted class sample of of virtual teaching
Playful Portraiture Online Workshop
Portrait of Billie Holiday by Lyric Montgomery Kinard

2. Comfort and Convenience

Comfort and convenience are also major benefits. We can be learning from the rock stars of the quilting world while wearing pajama pants and slippers. As long as your top is cute and your hair is combed, no one needs to know, right? Getting your tools and supplies to class is also a breeze since you are now taking classes in your home studio. The tables you sew and cut on in class are at the right height for you. Your chair is molded to your shape and supports your body comfortably. The sewing machine is the one you are familiar with, and you didn’t have to carry it with you to class.

3. Optimal Learning Environment

Probably one of the greatest benefits of learning quilting online is the ability to optimize your learning environment. Since teachers generally have a camera focused on the technique being taught, all students can easily view the demonstration from the optimal angle. Gone are the days of straining to get a view of the technique being demonstrated!

Shows beaded sample from virtual teaching
Bead It Like You Mean It Online Workshop
Techniques Like Beading Benefit From the Opportunity for Close-Ups in Online Workshops

Noise levels from equipment and even fellow students can be adjusted, making it very easy to hear instructions.

4. Exchanging Ideas with Fellow Students from Around the World

When taking live classes or courses with online forums, your fellow students can also be a fun benefit. Many quilters have remarked about how exciting it has been to take classes with new friends from around the world without having to travel. It has been inspiring to visit each other’s quilting studios, and find fresh ideas to inspire our own spaces! The exchange of ideas in the quilting world is probably unmatched in history.

The Advantages of Virtual Teaching for Teachers

Any traveling quilt teacher who had all of their contracts canceled due to Covid-19 restrictions finds the ability to replace the lost income to be a serious upside. Purchasing the necessary equipment, and getting comfortable using new technology was a small sacrifice to be able to continue doing what you love. It was definitely an attractive option in difficult times, but are there advantages when things return to normal?

1. Streamlined Preparation for Virtual Teaching

In talking with Lyric, the benefits to live online teaching are many. You’ll remember from three weeks ago that getting ready to travel is a time-consuming process. For Lyric, there is an entire day of packing her suitcases and another full day of packing and mailing supplies. I was exhausted just reading the list of those preparations on Lyric’s blog.

Graphic for guide to help quilters who don't teach virtually prepare for travel
Tips for Traveling Quilt Teachers
Lyric’s Guide Helps Traveling Teachers Tackle the Extensive Preparation

When she presents an online program live, she is ready to go with about 30 minutes of preparation!

2. Virtually “Visiting” Multiple Guilds Back-to-Back

With face-to-face events, Lyric has between a half-day to a full day of travel on each end of the trip. When presenting online she is able to present and teach to three different geographically separate groups over three days. The reduction in travel and preparation time means she is able to fulfill 3 contracts online in the time it would take to fulfill 1 in person.

3. Reduced Travel Improves Home Life

Even though Lyric loves traveling, teaching quilting online means fewer days away from her home and family. This is a particularly wonderful benefit to young moms who may find it necessary to limit travel like Lyric did in the early days. For teachers who love traveling, the increase in efficiency may boost their income enough to allow their travel to be recreational instead of business.

Shows aircraft wing to represent traveling when quilters don't teach virtually
Virtual Teaching Opportunities Reduce Business Travel for Quilting Teachers

For those who don’t enjoy traveling, online teaching is a game-changer. Most teachers I have asked sit somewhere in the middle. They enjoy some travel for face-to-face teaching and presenting opportunities. However, the ability to also teach and present online allows them to reach income goals without the exhaustion of constant travel.

Virtual Teaching Is Here To Stay

With all the advantages to both student and teacher, I believe quilters will continue to learn new techniques online. In-person experiences are certainly going to be popular as stay-at-home restrictions are lifted. Of course, we want to reconnect with all of our quilting friends. However, a global pandemic has taught us that it is possible to connect with anyone, anywhere in the world online. The ability to share and learn from each other is an incredibly exciting opportunity that emerged in a really tough time!

Shows gallery view of Zoom Quilt Class
Creative Quilters Learning Online

You aren’t going to want to miss next week’s post. We will learn about an incredible program Lyric has developed to prepare teachers for online success. Be sure to subscribe to my email list, so you never miss a single post, and get my free “Ultimate Guide to Pricing Your Quilts for Sale” as my way of saying thanks for connecting with me!

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