This post is going to help you understand that regardless of who you are, your background or professional qualifications, you have the expertise to teach. And, you are already teaching. This makes you a prime candidate for creating your own online fashion courses, promoting them, earning revenue and helping others solve their own challenges.
I fell in love with training and adult education in the early 1980's. My first introduction to training as a career was when I attended a train the trainer course. Five days in London. The hotel accommodation was poor. I couldn't afford anything fancy. My company paid for the course but the accommodation was down to me. It was at a time when the latest technology in our office was a Canon fax. The course trainer used overhead projectors and acetates. If you're too young to know what these are, look here. I remember being wowed by the book he used containing a catalog of silhouettes he used for these acetates to give a more professional appearance to his images. Those were the days.
What hooked me was the thought that there were people that needed help in the subject I was learning to teach, that needed my help. And that through a process of sharing my knowledge, supporting information and various techniques to improve their skills, I could help people overcome the struggles they were facing. I found this incredibly rewarding and still do.
We have all been used to teaching being provided by professionals within classrooms. That's because the model of education has been based on educational establishments and private training providers with qualified (certified) instructors/tutors/teachers being the prime delivery mechanism for our learning. This has now changed, forever!
The model has now been disrupted by dozens of online learning platforms and marketplaces that allow individuals to create their own courses and be the new expertise that others can turn to. We no longer have to rely on classrooms. We no longer have to rely on certified tutors. Now we can access real experts, with real-world experiences within our niches. It's now possible to learn about the most diverse of subjects by turning to people that have the exact expertise we need to teach us precisely what we need to learn and when we need it, all thanks to learning platforms and the Internet.
This means that within the world of fashion and the subcategories that connect to it there are hundreds of thousands of experts like you and your colleagues, that have the depth and breadth of experience others can tap into. Only as long as that expertise serves students outside of the old outdated model.
The doors are open, you are being let in. Come join us.
Let me give you an example. I was browsing the Internet and doing some background research for a potential new course on techpacks. For those of you not familiar with these they are informative sheets that designers create to communicate with a manufacturer all the necessary components needed to construct a product.
I read an article about techpacks and a young designer had left a comment and some questions.
"Is there a good way to learn more about production garment construction? As a designer this would be so valuable in the design process in order to make adjustments based on production and how the techniques/machines etc. affect cost and product outcomes. Also it seems valuable in terms of being taken seriously by manufacturers."
We can see that this designer has three challenges:
Clearly, he needs help. There are courses on garment construction at universities but he can't afford to take a full-time or even a part-time night class. He'll end up covering too much general information when he actually needs answers to some very specific questions. But previously such courses would have been the most likely root to meet his needs.
Now that the education model is open it provides an enormous opportunity for experts in the field of garment construction to step in and provide niche courses. A manufacturer, for example, could provide this solution, or someone with years of experience working in garment construction. All it takes is for fashion subject experts to see the opportunity, learn the steps to seize the opportunity and to take action to develop and sell their own online courses. Somewhere there is such an expert who will do this and become the go-to resource for short garment technology and construction courses.
Now I'm not advocating that you create a course based on just one comment. There's more work to be done to uncover the full picture and validate your course topic. The point is that universities and colleges are too slow to react to the needs of individuals in the industry that need help now. Their course development cycles are too long, involving too many people and often lead to inappropriate learning solutions. Most of the answers to questions like "How do I....?" will not come from universities, colleges or other vocational training centers but from individuals working in the industry. That's where it's most relevant.
There's one point I want you to consider before you start saying you could never teach. And that's this....you already DO teach. It may not be as a formal teacher/instructor/lecturer, but you do teach.
If you have kids you teach them. If you have grand-kids you teach them. If you are a manager, supervisor, team leader then part of your role is to teach others. If you write instruction manuals for your company you teach. If you write website copy helping customers to use your site, you teach. At weekends if you run a youth activity such as soccer team or the Girl Guides, you teach. If you are a senior designer the chances are you teach junior designers. I think you see where I'm coming from.
So you already have talents for explaining why something is important, what needs to be done and how to do it. All you need to do now is learn how to teach your business skills online and how to monetize it so that you receive a fair return for your efforts.
A great place to start is our short course called How to PLAN Your Online Fashion Course Effectively which covers the first phase in course development. This will give you everything you need to know and do to get you one step closer to becoming the go-to person for your niche area of fashion expertise.
So what's stopping you?
Cheryl Gregory is the Founder of The Fashion Student Hub, a marketplace for selling online fashion courses, and We Teach Fashion teaching fashion subject experts how to create and promote their own online courses, generate revenue and serve the growing need for online education in the fashion sector.
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