Surely we should be appreciating their bona fide differences and create online courses that can satisfy their needs?
Over the past 25 years, my partner and I ran a very successful training and consulting business in the retail sector based upon long form training. Know the type? – classic training courses and experiential workshops that are a minimum duration of half a day and often over five.
Retreats and leadership programs, skills development and culture change initiatives. We’ve been involved in this over the past 25 years and enjoyed working with fabulous clients worldwide.
However, times are rapidly changing! The Internet has dramatically changed how we do business, what we do and where we do it, forever. With perhaps only one way back… turn off the digital connections to our connected world!
Consider this. We are frequently engaging with Millennials who love to learn, but traditional classroom lecturing often does not reflect their distinctive learning style. They have been weaned on social media, whose largest attention span lasts as long as the next ping indicating a new notification has arrived. This generation is fast losing the art of conversation and the willingness to sit in a room with fellow students and a tutor. They fidget as they try to catch a sneaky glimpse of their Facebook messages and re-tweets or ‘pins’ during meetings!
Back in the days, ( no, I'm not that old!!) break time as a fashion designer at University for the first time was a time for a chin wag with my friends, a coffee, a visit to the loo and then back to the classroom room for further tuition. This has now become an opportunity to disappear to befriend their smartphones, pin another board, go on Facebook or upload another image to Instagram, faces illuminated by the glow of their phone screens.
The truth is that Millennials prefer to learn in their own time and schedule rather than go through lectures and overly structured training.
Now back to social media. In case you are wondering, I am not in any way negative towards it. I love it, and see it as a wonderful and richly coloured addition to our lives. My own family are advocates for all forms of social media.
However, the way the world is communicating is changing what students want, both inside and outside of the corporate environment. Accessing such a readily available medium is turning them away from long form input of any kind. They want access to knowledge just in time, when they need it, where they need it and on the device of their choice. They like it in short bursts where they can dip in and out and savour their multi-media learning experience as masters of their own personal development.
According to Josh Bersin, who advises companies about corporate training strategies for consulting firm Deloitte, “People are not patient for long-form content. They want to skip to the part they need.” And you can’t do that in the classroom. You can’t say to the tutor “Can I skip forward to the bit I really want?”, because after all not everyone needs it yet even if you do.
So to all sectors comes the revolution. Expertise will no longer just be shared in the classroom by a trainer who is either the expert or is delivering content on behalf of the expert or a corporate communications executive that wants his message drilled down. Everyone now has the potential to share their expertise online in ways that the current generation of social media and smart-phone savvy people demand. There are platforms all around us now such as Udemy, Skillshare and Linda where a plethora of courses are available on tap for continuous consumption.
Regardless of your industry or sector ‘Now Is The Time To Package Your Expertise And Sell It Online’ to a generation hungry to learn it their way, in their time, outside of the classroom and wherever the learning mood takes them. And package and your expertise for your own reward.
There are thousands of course creators making secondary incomes from their courses and many that now use it as their sole source of income.
For my business, I am convinced that the traditional way of learning is becoming rather boring and unattractive. Therefore I’ve now shifted my energies into creating a worldwide platform for experts in my field, ‘fashion’, to learn how to create online courses, and how to promote them profitably at weteachfashion.com.
We will help them promote their courses to their audience, and have developed a platform to connect learners to these courses at thefashionstudenthub.com.
I see a future where talented individuals with expertise in the field of fashion, are sharing to a global audience of fashion students and employees eager to learn and develop their skills and knowledge. These students will turn to the device of their choice and learn from a portfolio of courses offered by a bank of professional fashion experts that will unlock each student's full potential.
The future I’m envisioning is where subject experts that serve the fashion industry have learned how to take their expertise, develop educational resources and then market them online profitably, reaching an audience without boundaries and without restrictions of time or place.
I am not against fashion in the classroom either, far from it. However, its days are numbered if we simply leave it as it is! The Millennial generation is no longer the type of student our educational system was designed to teach. It is for the online educator to provide this new arena for engagement and discovery as well as be a content expert and mentor!
My vision is to help fashion experts, connect their expertise with these new audiences and in so doing we can change the shape of fashion education. If this resonates with you then please join us!
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