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Looking at Upskilling?  How to Make Online Learning Work for You!

Looking at Upskilling?  How to Make Online Learning Work for You!

I don’t know about you, but I’m kind of a little bit obsessed with upskilling.  I have a thirst for knowledge; once I land on a topic I feel compelled to know everything there is about it, and master the skills completely.

The only problem with this is that between training, working in my salon and managing my businesses, it can be really hard to find the time to attend training courses that run for any longer than a day at the most.  I realised that this is probably the case for many people, which is why I created an online version of my Classic Lash Mastery Course, a collection of more than 100 video tutorials delivered over 14 weeks.

Online courses are certainly an excellent way of learning for those of us who have multiple other commitments which prevent us from attending in-person courses.  Lots of them are self-paced, allowing us to spend an hour or two on our learning when we have the time, whether it be early hours of the morning, a lunch-time break or even late at night.  We can study in the car, at our dinner tables or from the comfort of our own beds!  If you’re a slower learner like me, you can re-watch videos as many times as you like until you fully master your new skills.

There are so many different courses available online right now; modern tech allows us access to content created by educators all over the world, on a variety of topics.  We can enrol in comprehensive courses that go for several months, or micro-courses that deliver ultra-specific content and skills that we can master over a weekend.

However, there is a downside to this – we need to be self-disciplined enough to find (or make!) the time for our learning, which can be difficult when we are spread thin or the unit we are working on is dry or hard to concentrate on.  We need to rely on our internal motivation to get the tasks done – and this can be hard!  And oftentimes, we don’t realise how difficult it is until we’ve already signed up and begun our training.

So how do you know if online learning is right for you?

Learning Styles

Before you start any training, it’s important to have a good idea of the best way that you learn and retain information.  The following is a list of the various ways different people prefer to learn new information.

  • Visual – these students like to watch to learn.  Whether it be watching a trainer perform a skill, utilising videos or images to reinforce information, or reading graphs or charts, these students will retain information best when it is presented to them in a visual way.
  • Auditory – these students like to listen to information to learn.  They are the podcast-listeners, the students who love to listen to interviews and remember the words to hundreds of songs.
  • Kinesthetic – students who learn this way are ‘doers’.  They will learn best in a hands-on environment where they get to physically perform the skills they are learning to practise them.
  •  Reading/Writing – students who learn best this way love handouts, reading manuals and instruction sheets, and researching for themselves online.

Have a think about which of these apply best to you – you might be a combination of a couple!  Learning styles best suited to online learning are auditory and reading/writing, but visual learners can also engage well with online courses that utilise more visual delivery methods such as videos and pictures.

A student who primarily learns through kinesthetic methods may find an online course quite challenging.

Ask Questions

Before you commit to a course, you should research thoroughly and make sure you fully understand all of the requirements.  If you can’t find all of the information online, it’s a great idea to get in contact with the training provider to ask some questions!  Some great examples are:

    • What delivery methods are used? E.g: videos, text, Zoom sessions.
  • What equipment will I need? For example, lighting, a massage table, a tripod for filming videos.
  • What are the assessment requirements?  This is really important – will you need to submit written work, photos or videos, or attend any workshops online or in person?  Make sure that you can commit to these!
      • How long do I have to complete the course?  What is your extension policy?
  • What is the recommended amount of time I need to devote to study each week?  Another really important question – if you need to commit 10 hours a week, can you honestly find that time in your schedule?

  • Ok, but Joy… I’ve already purchased my course.

    Once you’ve started any course, naturally you want to complete it to get the most out of the financial investment that you’ve made!  So what are some strategies to help you get motivated to complete your training?

    Schedule the Time

    This is my number one tip.  You schedule appointments, you schedule your clients – so schedule yourself!  Block out some time in your week to work on your course, even if it’s only an hour or two at a time where you can fit it in.

    Time it Right

    Work out what time of the day you are feeling the most focused – this is when you will get the most out of your study!  If you are alert and ready to go early in the morning, that’s when you should work on your course, rather than waiting until the evening when it might be harder for you to concentrate.

    Dedicate a Space

    Find a spot where you are comfortable, where you have all of the equipment you need, and where you won’t be interrupted.  Set yourself up for success at the very beginning!  Have your water, your coffee and your snacks, and put your phone on Airplane Mode to eliminate any distractions.

    Reward Yourself

    Finally, make sure you reward yourself with some me-time or a treat when you’ve finished your training for the day.  This will help give you something to look forward to at the end of a session and keep you focused!

    Whether you choose to study in-person or online, I wish you good luck with your training!  There is so much knowledge out there to discover and, as Oscar Wilde once said, “You can never be overdressed or overeducated!”

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