Interview with Kyle Green, Director of Creative Content at Digital Tutors

Nov 13, 2015 at 09:37 pm by -gToon



Editors Note: Digital-Tutors is changing their name to Pluralsight (their parent company). While the Digital-Tutor name might be gone, everything else remains the same (content, site address, etc.). In time, all D-T content will be integrated into Pluralsight.com, but for now, users can access both sites for all their 2D, 3D, IT and developer training needs.

Renderosity: What kind of creative artist is Pluralsight focused on, the new user, the pro-sumer or the established professional?

Really, we have content that caters to users at any skill level. Our training content is used by people across the entire spectrum of our industry, including experienced and advanced creative professionals, hobbyists and new users, accredited university classrooms, as well as Oscar-winning VFX houses and AAA game studios.

How did Digital-Tutors (now called Pluralsight) get its start and what were the initial goals of the business?

Piyush Patel, who was the founder and CEO of Digital-Tutors, came up with the idea for our company back in 2002, when we were teaching 3D animation in a college classroom. We had both been working with 3D software since the mid-90's, and I started teaching with Piyush in 2000. It was a point in time when 3D software was just coming out of its infancy and getting a job as a 3D artist wasn't exactly a mainstream career choice.

The software was expensive, the hardware was very expensive, and the cost of a high-quality education in the 3D field was prohibitively expensive for many. In 2004, we and another teacher decided to leave our college positions in order to pursue Digital-Tutors full-time. With Digital-Tutors, we wanted to remove some of the barriers-to-entry in these creative fields by offering an affordable, high-quality, always-present learning resource for aspiring creative professionals.

As teachers, we feel very strongly that it's our duty to help make the world a better place through education - to inspire people to pursue their dreams, and give them opportunities to get into a creative, rewarding career, and to have a better life for themselves and for their families. Digital-Tutors and Pluralsight give us the opportunity to impact countless lives on a global scale. Making the world a better place through education has been our goal and motivation from day one.

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What factors do you take into account when you decide on what training to cover?

There are a number of factors we consider when it comes to planning content. We've always strived to be the "thought leaders" in our space - we try to keep a close eye on industry trends, so we can anticipate future opportunities for training content. By that same token, it's also important for us to understand which industry workflows are becoming obsolete or outdated, so we can ensure we no longer incorporate those workflows into future training content. We also want our customers to have a voice, so when training requests come our way, we definitely take those under consideration when planning future content.

How has the merge with Pluralsight affected the business? Will you be changing the direction/content of the site?

This acquisition has given us the ability to significantly expand the size of our teams and has given us the resources to develop some really exciting and innovative technologies. This gives users a totally unique learning experience that they can't get anywhere else. These include an eventual 1:1 mentoring option that uses screen sharing and experts around the world to help learners overcome issues almost immediately, as well as powerful assessments that will help our members gauge their skill level, track growth and close skill gaps faster.

As for the website, Digital-Tutors is migrating all of its creative training content to Pluralsight.com, but it will live on both sites until the migration is complete. Pluralsight is building a new experience that will make our creative audience feel right at home. The newly designed website was built with Digital-Tutors members' feedback. Moving to one platform or site is critical in giving every member access to all trainings and features for the best possible learning experience.

At some point in the future, the Digital-Tutors website will go away. In the meantime, the Digital-Tutors website will operate under the name "Pluralsight Creative."

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How does a potential instructor for Digital-Tutors go about auditioning or applying for work?

We seek out talented and experienced instructors from around the world, as well as receive applications from prospective authors online. After careful review of their CV and bodies of work, we offer the opportunity to audition to only the best candidates and begin discussions about what courses they might be able to teach.

Digital-Tutors has a particular way they present their training; how did this develop over the years?

A lot of our "Digital-Tutors style" of training came from our years of classroom teaching experience. Education studies tell us that there are right and wrong ways to teach to different audience demographics, so we try to make our content as educationally-sound as possible. Regardless of whether or not they came from a teaching background, all of our in-house staff instructors go through a fairly rigorous training process. In this training,
they learn how to teach and present content in a manner that is consistent and relatable to our audience.

We also draw inspiration from fields like radio broadcasting, where on-air talent are taught to speak comfortably for long periods of time, and how to modulate their voices to carry more emphasis and emotion, making for a more enjoyable learning experience for the listener. With the rise in popularity of free resources like YouTube and Vimeo, it was vitally important that we continue to deliver a superior learning experience to our viewers. As instructors, we're on a constant journey to hone our teaching skills, and that's part of what keeps things exciting for us.

How has Digital-Tutors changed/grown over the years? What do you see for the future?

The growth of Digital-Tutors and Pluralsight over the years has been incredible. We've added many talented individuals to our team to help us produce quality training. Originally, we only offered training in 3D and VFX. However, in the past couple years we've branched out into new verticals, such as video game development, web design and CAD.

Is Pluralsight developing non-training courses, like something on creativity or careers in digital art?

We don't have any non-training courses at this time, but we're definitely exploring it. We want to connect the amazing talent in the creative industries with artists all around the world. Our blog is also a great resource for people who are looking to learn more about creativity or career development in the digital arts.

Feel free to check it out: http://blog.digitaltutors.com/ (or http://blog.pluralsight.com/)


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