Active Learning at the Canon Boot Camp

Since Day One of The Association’s Canon Boot Camp over 3 years ago, we’ve always taken the stance of Active Learning at our workshops. This means that our HDSLR workshops are very hands-on and that our students retain more information than they would have in a lecture setting.  Our students have all left the Canon Boot Camp with their questions answered. According to our surveys, the main reason filmmakers come to our bootcamp is to learn to operate the Canon HDSLRs and to become more comfortable using the camera and understanding the menus.

Thanks to our Active Learning method, beginner students who may have more questions than an intermediate student are not left behind because we answer all questions as they come up. That means that our students never fall behind by having to wait until the end of the class to ask questions. We are happy to be interrupted by a raised hand. Our student to instructor ratio is about 3:1 and our well-rounded team can answer questions about all Canon HDSLRs, lighting, sound, media management, production, and more.

Instructor ratio is 3:1 at the Canon Boot Camp

Check out this video highlighting our Canon Boot Camp:

The secret to the success of our workshop is that everyone is involved in each other’s learning experience. Not only do our instructors dish out nuggets of success, but our students become involved in each others’ education. Because we have participants of various backgrounds, they are able to provide insight into their niche and share details of what gear and equipment is most useful for them during our product demos.

This is one of the main reasons why we pair students up during drills and let the “twins” work together. They work off of each other’s strengths as they navigate through the confusing and hyper-technical menus (especially the Mark III’s. Have you seen that beast?). When they are both stuck, this is when one of us instructors comes by to guide them through.

Students learning together in the Canon Boot Camp

Our Active Learning method also includes drills that ensure the participants leave the workshop being very familiar with the location of settings, buttons, etc. This includes changing the ISO, setting a custom white balance, changing the f-stop, and more integral parts of using the camera that you’d want to remember during a high-stress situation. We train you so that adjusting these key settings becomes second nature. Having gone through years of schooling, I wish more of my classes were taught in this manner.

I always found that I learned best when teamed up with classmates. It especially breaks any tension of feeling like I am in a room full of strangers. One thing I notice from our boot camp is how quickly everyone becomes friends. If we just handed out a packet and told the students to follow it and listen to Fletch talk for 6 hours, about half the class would be asleep by the time we got to Histograms.

The interaction between students keeps the class lively, active, and productive. All the positive energy helps everyone learn better because they are very comfortable asking questions and don’t hold back helping one another since they know after our introduction exercise that everyone is here for one reason: to become a better filmmaker.

All of our students happily complete the course achieving their goals of learning to operate their camera, becoming familiar with the menu, and therefore becoming more confident as filmmakers.

Students participate in the Active Learning process



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