The world is going (or you could argue has gone!) online. We book flights online, we research products online, we chat online, we are all online! However, the world of training is different surely? If you decide to sign up to a course, do you really want to do it at home and miss out on face to face learning? Yes, it seems! Different people like to learn in different ways and also with the busy lives we lead, we all like to have the choice to learn in a way that works for us.
This week we chatted with FIPI Trainer Gail Morgan from ‘Study in Style’. Gail is the first of FIPI’s training providers to offer online course options to her students. We wanted to know more to share with you. From chatting with Gail, what stood out most was how personal her courses are. She works only with small groups and no matter what training option her students go for (distance learning, face to face or online), when you are dealing with small groups, you can make sure each student gets the support they need to excel and learn. Gail explained that she supplements her online training option with support webinars and phone calls.
Then there is the cost, usually online training will cost less. It makes sense. Less overheads. However, Gail explained if online learning suits you, it does not mean a lesser experience. It is ultimately up to the student to engage with their training provider and make the most of the experience.
Gails course options go like this;
THE IMAGE PROFESSIONAL COURSE thought by either distance learning or face to face classes.
THE PERSONAL STYLIST COURSE thought also by distance learning of face to face classes.
THE PERSONAL SHOPPER COURSE which is only online and launched this year.
Gail explained also that the online option has become a great pathway for anyone who is interested to dip their toe into the world of fashion, image and styling without yet being sure they want to invest in the full Image Professional Qualification.
So where and when did Gail start to think she wanted to create this online training option? She explained to me that a couple of years ago she was working with the University of Bedfordshire helping students to prepare for interview using video and she had a light bulb moment. From there she put a lot of research, time and money into getting her course just right for the online market and for the course she has created (her personal shopper course). She used sample trainees as part of her test run and in filming to make sure the content was just right.
The course is broken down into modules, which you will complete with Gail’s support. The content in each module is varied in length as Gail explained a topic like ‘Colour Analysis’ will take more time than something like ‘Style Personalities’. The course takes approximately 2 – 3 hours per week for 9 weeks.
Online training is definitely growing hugely in popularity. I don’t think (yet!) it will fully replace the magic created with face to face classroom training but people now want convenience and so if you can be sure of the same quality of training and know it is right for you, it opens up a whole new world of possibilities right from your own sitting room!
To finish, I asked Gail a couple of questions:
What advice would you give to potential students when trying to decide between the different learning options?
How they like to learn is important – if they like interaction with others and hands on experience then obviously the Face to Face option would be best for them, or a mixture of home study and face to face. In the training videos we aimed to make the experience as interactive as possible and group Q&A calls are included as part of the home study option. Home study is perfect for people who want to join the image industry but can’t attend a face to face course either because of family or work commitments, or because of geography or cost.
Do you believe online training is the way the industry is going?
I certainly believe that it offers a great alternative option to face to face especially for those people who want to test out if this is the right move for them. There are so many ways that we can utilise technology now whether it is through email, online meeting and training platforms, webinars or social media. It is possible to train people on the other side of the World and share knowledge and experience in amazing ways.
How do you think your online training course differs from others on the market?
The amount of additional equipment that they receive! People can watch the training videos through physical DVDs or through their computer/tablet. With the Image Professional and Personal Stylist Courses trainees receive the same equipment and manuals as the face to face trainees and they get the reassurance of regular Skype type calls with me when we can see each other using webcams. The Personal Shopper Course is purely online as there isn’t any equipment needed with this course but this course also includes regular online calls. All the courses include specific in-depth business marketing training to help with setting up their new style businesses.
Are there particular websites you recommend are good for students researching and complimenting their study with you to become an image professional?
I recommend that they read online newspaper and magazines – I particularly like the Telegraph fashion section, as well as Red Magazine and GQ. I will often share articles within our consultant Facebook Group.
Your FIPI Team xx