No one can deny that 2020 turned beauty education on its head. The industry swapped the classroom for Zoom and, as a result, the calibre of online courses has soared. But with insurance restrictions to meet and a new way of teaching to navigate, how have course providers adapted to online?
“When the first lockdown came about in March, we initially postponed all of our courses until we were allowed to reopen in July”, says Julie-Ann McCawley, trainer for Scottish Beauty Expert Training Academy. “We thought about online education and how we could transfer these courses to a virtual method that would ensure students still received a high standard of training”, she says. This involved developing lesson plans and inviting a media company to film the practical elements. “We wanted a step-bystep instructional video that students could follow and pause as they practised at home”, she says.
“The response has been overwhelming and the work the students are producing is outstanding.” While there are pros to learning at home, it can have its challenges, says McCawley. “I think some do miss the social interaction with their peers. As a trainer, it is nice when you see friendships formed on your courses but, on the plus side, we get a lot more time to assess them one-to-one which is great.” Gerrard International has also adapted its Brow by Mii training for online, following a review with its accreditation company, Habia, and is currently using the platform Zoom.
“The theory and practical demonstration are conducted virtually in a 90-minute-totwo- hour session. The delegates will then practise on models in preparation for the practical assessment”, explains Caron Lee, Gerrard International area manager.
“This can be completed either via a Zoom practical observation, with a verbal assessment of theory knowledge, or via a recorded video, which can be sent to the assessor who will follow up with questions on theory knowledge. Additionally, the final stage also includes a live summative assessment on a model.”
In a similar vein, Lash Perfect’s course offers a flexible final assessment. “There are two options for the practical assessment and a model will be required for both”, says Fay Gallagher, training manager at the Lash Perfect Group. “You can attend either a face-to-face practical assessment at one of our training locations, or complete your assessment virtually from home via video call. We have invested in high-quality tutorial videos to ensure our trainees can see the treatment techniques in just as much detail as on a face-to-face session”, she says.
“We have had excellent feedback from trainees who have enjoyed the experience, especially being able to take the course at their own pace.” The thorough level of assessment is crucial to ensure students are getting the most out of the training, and The London Brow Company has also created an in-depth online course. “We have done professional step-by-step filming to ensure students are getting a similar experience to when they see live demosrations in the training class. We have also added in-depth step-by-step manuals on a professional training platform so students can work through their theory at their own pace”, says founder Leigh Blackwell.
“It’s necessary to ensure these tutorials are in-depth enough to cover any questions that students may have. Each student has a direct email and chat portal with a trainer so they can ask questions as they go.”
There are multiple benefits to online training, too. “We can reach more students in remote locations who don’t have the means to travel to a class course”, says Blackwell. “Students can also fit their learning around family and work, making the courses more accessible.”
Even before UK lockdown restrictions, Henna Brows had witnessed an increase in demand for online training courses. The feedback they received from therapists was that they couldn’t take time away from their businesses to train and travel. They launched online training courses at the beginning of 2020 but saw a huge spike in demand during lockdown, enabling them to reach and train candidates all over the world.
In fact, Blackwell believes online training could be the norm in the future. “I feel beauty training will eventually all be online as these digital platforms are well equipped to do distanced learning without losing contact with your trainer”, she says. “It is a much easier way to learn or enhance skills where students can then start to practise in their own time without any pressure of a fast-track, in-class course.” PB