Plan your #LearnuaryNI quest using calendar template by
Chartered Marketer, Digital Marketing and Customer Service Trainer Christine Watson, founder of shares her draft #LearnuaryNI plan: The old adage is “fail to prepare and prepare to fail”. As the creator of the #LearnuaryNI campaign I thought I had better lead by example. So I am happy to share my own #LearnuaryNI skills development plan with you all. Please don’t keep me to these 31 or indeed in this exact order – we all know that things happen, obstacles arise and distractions can veer us away from our goals but… I hereby do solemnly pledge to learn one new thing every day for the month of January 2018 and share what I have learnt on social media using the hashtag: #LearnuaryNI. I hope that the sharing of my #LearnuaryNI calendar does inspire your own plans and I can’t wait to find out about the individual learning journeys that are set to take place across Northern Ireland this month. With wishes for a Happy Learned New Year from me to you.
  1. Instagram Live with Guest. Erik Fisher from Social Media Examiner is a dab hand at this relatively new feature, also producing a useful learning guide for you to follow if you want to learn ‘How To’. I believe that this digital marketing tactic has great scope for all sorts of Instagrammers. Indeed Northern Ireland brands such as DiscoverNI for example could call on celebrities – as Ambassadors for Northern Ireland to appear briefly in a regular Instagram Live slot with their favourite places to see and things to do across the country. I am sure it would be much easier to facilitate for both parties and would be a welcome value-adding addition for followers. Keep an eye on the Training Matchmaker Instagram page to follow our brand new Instagram Live attempts.
  2. Those of you who follow me on my Instagram stories will no doubt be aware of the clumsy mishap I had with my trusty old HP laptop on New Year’s Eve. A sign to start using my new pink Apple Mac, which has lay underutilised for far too long simply because of the fear of how much learning the new operating system will slow me down. Free workshops on how to use the Mac at a beginner and an intermediate level are regularly available in the Apple Store in Victoria Square, Belfast. Two such courses run concurrently from 9.30am to 11.30am on Tuesday 2 January. Expect to hear all about my learning experience by following the hashtag #LearnuaryNI. Find out more about the free classes in the Apple Store in Belfast on our Taking a Bite out of Apple blog.
  3. A successful #LearnuaryNI quest requires daily sharing of what I learnt today. My little sister is due her baby on 17 January so I expect to be forgiven should I cram extra learning into one day for the purpose of sharing it on a different day. Scheduling social media posts is sure to help me in this regard. My learning on day 3 will be centred around Hootsuite, Buffer and using the scheduled posts facility on facebook. I could even take the free Hootsuite Content Marketing online course.
  4. January 4th will see me return to the Apple store in Victoria Square, Belfast for a free face to face course on Keynote. As a Trainer I am pretty well versed and used to Microsoft Powerpoint but I look forward to proficiency in the Apple version – Keynote. Indeed I challenge myself to pair my iphone with a presentation in order to swipe right to move onto the next slide as a Presenter – maybe it will save me buying my own clicker this year.
  5. I don’t personally find Snapchat intuitive but my niece and indeed the younger generation are dedicated users of this social media platform. As a Chartered Marketer and a Digital Marketing Practitioner and Trainer I have no choice but to tackle what I deem a skills shortage in this area. As a Training Matchmaker it is my job to scour the internet looking for learning opportunities and sharing this knowledge through the new platform. The certificated course by Snapchat – Snapchat Explore will be my first port of call.
  6. I have been aware of and recommending to many peers and Digital Marketing students, who ask for my advice, the free online Google Digital Garage training. There are a number of modules and my understanding is that it will take a few hours to complete, hence leaving this #LearnuaryNI challenge to a Saturday. Keep an eye on my social media channels and/or the hashtag #LearnuaryNI to see which of the Google Digital Garage certificates I have chosen to start and hopefully complete.
  7. January 7th is a Sunday and whilst I plan to remain fully committed to #LearnuaryNI for the entire month I do want to inject some fun courses into my calendar. As a school girl I played both the cornet and piano achieving grade 2 in music for one and grade 3 for the other – I cannot quite remember which one I mastered moreso. I love music, a song can totally change my mood so I have booked myself into the Apple store in Victoria Square, Belfast for the third time in one week to learn how to play notes and chords – the free 30 minute tutorial runs from 5.30pm to 6.00pm and you can book online in advance using your Apple username and password.
  8. Affiliate Marketing – as a founder of an online platform and content creator I need to upskill in online revenue models and referral marketing that can help me maintain the site is critical to me.
  9. Chat Bots – Can I build up my online learning enough to create my first chat bot? If I do I will be sure to share it with you on my social media channels and will be seeking beta testers.
  10. Google Search Console – to upskill with this digital marketing tool I will burying my head in the Complete Guide to the Google Search Console by trusted blog site Search Engine Journal.
  11. I always wanted to be an Author, as a teenager I used to mitch school to read books in the house! I’ve even taken a short evening course in Creative Writing at Queen’s University Belfast as part of their Lifelong Learning programme. So, when I found out that Pixar had released a free online course in Storytelling with the Khan Academy I was committed to not just spreading the word but completing the programme myself too.
  12. I am totally making the most of the free courses in the Apple store in Victoria Square, Belfast for #LearnuaryNI. Today’s is a bit of fun though with learning that should benefit me in work and at home. From 2.00pm to 3.30pm I will be walking the streets of Belfast with an Apple Guru committed to teaching me how to manipulate light and shadow during our Photowalk.
  13. Trainer Alex from Wee Love Languages runs Spanish lessons for kids, adults and corporate customers. I can say Hello in Spanish at the moment and not much more so today I plan to learn one or more new Spanish words or phrases from her #LearnuaryNI contributions.
  14. I am so grateful to have found free graphic design platform Canva and I tell so many people about it but I am sure that I am not using it’s full potential. Canva have kindly produced a free one hour course on using Canva and that will be a mission I set myself to complete during my #LearnuaryNI.
  15. Facebook Blueprint – Facebook Blueprint Certified Marketers is on my radar and today, for #LearnuaryNI I plan to find out more and learn more about Facebook marketing. Apparently there are Facebook Blueprint exams so, you never know, maybe I’ll be able to show off a brand new certificate once I have tackled this programme.
  16. WordPress Visual Composer. Many moons ago I took a Summer course in wordpress taught by William Artt at Belfast Met. It has helped me hugely but since then wordpress has developed new tools that I have no choice but to master if I am to improve the UX of
  17. Marketing Metrics. Trainer Kathryn Pyper and current Chair of The Chartered Institute of Marketing, Ireland region delivered a training session on marketing metrics for the Arts Marketing Association – Northern Ireland network. As the Training Matchmaker for this workshop we attended and facilitated video recording. My challenge today is to personally edit some of this video footage using Apple iMovie (in 2017 we attended the free one hour workshop in the Apple Belfast store) and upload to Kathryn’s Trainer profile as well as setting up some relevant marketing metrics for
  18. Google Local Guide – Trainer Ciaran Connolly kindly shared his expertise with us at the Digital Sanity Supper Club. My challenge today is to learn more about becoming a Local Guide (if I am not already that is, I do have some recall of starting this process a long time ago) and adding content to a few places I frequent that I can find within my camera roll. I wonder how many points I will end the day on?
  19. Today I will be attending a Tourism Northern Ireland seminar to learn more about the Republic of Ireland (ROI) market. I already know that ROI have 3 bank holiday weekends on different dates than the UK – in June, August and October and look forward to learning much more about marketing to the 4.2 million residents who live in ROI.
  20. In 2017 I was very privileged to work for Collioure and Paris Agency BeAble2 in the launch of #AbsoluteCollioure to the Irish market. In 2018 I am challenging myself to dust off my old French language skills (I did ace my French GCSE once upon a time) so that I can have a meaningful conversation in French with my French colleagues.
  21. Educator Tina Calder has challenged me, alongside NI Blogger Faeribex to learn how to use Keychain and/or LastPass and actually use it i.e. apply the learning. Keep an eye on #LearnuaryNI to find out how I got on.
  22. Trainer and Great British Sewing Bee Competitor Angeline Murphy is offering You Tube tutorials as part of #LearnuaryNI. I will reveal not just what I have learnt but also what exactly it is that I have then gone on to create with thanks to Angeline this January.
  23. Today I expect to learn lots at the CIM (Chartered Institute of  Marketing) Ireland Virtual Reality and Marketing seminar which I, as a Chartered Marketer and member of CIM, am booked in to attend in Belfast free of charge. There is a small charge for non-members.
  24. Trainer Emma Gribben delivered a session for Ulster Bank Boost that I was sadly unable to attend in person. Today I plan to catch up online by watching the video recording of her lecture at The Mac in Belfast. You can find the video on Emma’s Trainer profile at:
  25. A bespoke Enterprise Northern Ireland training workshop – Digital and Social Media Marketing Best Practice for Local Enterprise Agencies will be delivered at Mallusk Enterprise Centre by Emma Garrett and I. Before I deliver any of my training courses I always carry out research to refresh my knowledge, skills and content. As part of #LearnuaryNI I commit to sharing my new learnings.
  26. Google EMEA HQ in Dublin run the free face to face Google Breakfast Briefing Series. Learning from Google Experts in the Foundry the sessions have been scheduled to the last Friday of each month. Invites are sent just a week or so in advance to selected individuals. Click here to read more and find out how to receive an invite by email. These sessions are for Digital Marketing Practitioners.
  27. I am really looking forward to this weekend class in Millinery by Grainne Maher. It is an investment in my education but I am very excited at the prospect of creating my own little masterpiece to don on my head the next time I go to the races or attend a wedding.
  28. With the surname Watson there is, without a doubt, Scottish blood in my ancestry. The Ulster Scots Agency have a whole blog (and indeed an educational website) dedicated to inspiring us to enhancing our awareness of Ulster Scots words. I am sure my learning in this area will include some very familiar sounding words that I have been accustomed to hearing throughout my childhood and beyond.
  29. I am the facilitator of the Digital Sanity Supper Club – a peer to peer learning network where Digital Marketing Practitioners and Trainers come together over dinner at the Malmaison Hotel in Belfast to keep our skills up to date with the very latest changes across digital platforms and also hear from a Soap Box speaker. Our Soap Box Speaker on 29 January is Paul McGarrity who will share knowledge and case studies on all things Pinterest.
  30. Resilience – Trainer Sandy Webb delivered a training session on resilience for the Arts Marketing Association – Northern Ireland network. As the Training Matchmaker for this workshop we attended and facilitated video recording. My challenge today is to personally edit some of this video footage using Apple iMovie (in 2017 we attended the free one hour workshop in the Apple Belfast store) and upload to Sandy’s Trainer profile as well as sharing some of our key learnings from attending this workshop.
  31. Today is Tax Return deadline day for self employed people like me, so I have set aside 31 January to focus on learning more about accounts and tax.
If you have made it this far down my #LearnuaryNI journey I thank you and hope to hear your thoughts on my choices. Did you learn anything new? A course or resource that you didn’t know existed? Did you follow my lead and adopt a few of my #LearnuaryNI challenges for your own journey this January? Do you have any learning resources or tips for me based on the areas of skills development that I have identified myself or do you want to give me advice on blogging? Please do join the conversation on social media – you can find me personally on Twitter and LinkedIn, you can find Watson & Co. Chartered Marketing on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and you can find on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat. The courses that I will be delivering as a Trainer can all be found listed on my profile. Happy #LearnuaryNI – I will, of course, be returning to this blog throughout my #LearnuaryNI not just to keep myself on track but also to post additional links to learning opportunities that I find that may be useful to others as I progress on my skills development journey.

Want to Learn More?

If you know of any great youtube tutorials, learning events, training courses or other useful learnings that #LearnuaryNI challengers can take on to master this January/February do let us know.

About #LearnuaryNI

To find out more about #LearnuaryNI – a Northern Ireland learning challenge to encourage people to learn one new thing (or teach one thing) each day for 31 days visit #LearnuaryNI.

Find Inspiration

For inspiration follow the hashtag #LearnuaryNI on social media, visit our #LearnuaryNI blogs or click on ‘Find a Course’.    

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