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How to Maximize Online Learning

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It’s pretty safe to say that most of us have done some form of online training in the past 7 months… welcome to a whole new world of collaborative digital learning as education is reimagined. Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Classroom have now been integrated into the lives of most hairdressers, as the laptop is the new classroom. There have been many discoveries in this collaborative learning style, and it will probably remain a solid educational choice for the future.  Do I miss and love shows and face-to-face teaching?  You have no idea, but let’s look at the advantages of the current digital platform.

One advantage is convenience. You can now learn at home at your own pace and focus on whatever skill set you desire; watch, participate and cut along whenever and however works best for you. A mannequin has become my best friend in allowing me to expand my skills. And practice, practice, practice is when my creativity begins to expand, and I make huge discoveries. I happen to love my Pivot Point Lydia, because I can get a number of cuts out of her based on the length of her hair… and don’t forget it’s tax deductible my friends! It’s so important to find the time to practice, and now is the perfect time.

Another advantage is choosing what you want to focus on. Online learning is not about covering large amounts of content, so take a deep breath and be thoughtful when choosing the content you’d like to learn. Then, map out an amount of time you want to devote to that skill set. For example, you can now spend a week or two on either long hair styles, braiding, haircutting, color, business, wellness, etc. and then move on to the next skill set of your choice.

We must ensure that we are getting the most out of digital learning. An online class can present unique challenges only if you are not prepared. So, here are some value-added tips to maximize your online classes.

Treat an online class like a face-to-face live class

Participate, ask questions and use the chat or question box. Commit my friends, and have the discipline to sit down, focus and contribute with intent, purpose and dedication. You must ‘show up’ if you are going to get real value from a class. If it’s free, pretend you paid for it just as you would a traditional face-to-face class to ensure that you are invested and guaranteed to walk away with a rich learning experience.

Create a learning space

Prep your learning environment — the bed is not an option!  When you’re in an office/workspace, you are more focused and serious. Whether you choose your kitchen table, office or a corner, determine what type of environment works best for you and maximizes your learning with the proper lighting, sound and background. And don’t forget to sit in a comfortable chair! Make sure there’s high-speed internet and do a speed check. It’s also important to have the proper materials, tools (if hands on or cut along), paper/pen for taking notes, etc., to optimize your learning environment.

Eliminate distractions

You will be hit with distractions that can easily derail your learning. Headphones are awesome for listening with intent and purpose and cutting out disturbances. Find a strategy that works for you. I highly recommend turning your cell phone off to avoid losing focus every time a text or notification pops up. Lastly, make sure to close out your browser windows.

Hold yourself accountable

We must hold ourselves accountable when it comes to online learning. If you’re having trouble, pair up with a colleague to debrief the information/class after. By being organized, self-aware and proactive, you will maximize your learning.

Celebrate the wins

When you’ve completed your class, practiced and fully understand the content, celebrate your win with a reward!  Maybe it’s a Netflix movie, dinner, a run, or maybe it’s just a BIG YES on 3, 1-2-3 YES!

My friends, our learning environment may not be the same, but it’s still important to remember that good learning is still good learning. All of those things that are being taught and shared are really good practices that are now just being done virtually. It might look a little different, but remember, technology is a tool, not a learning outcome. Use it with intent and purpose, and you will LEARN!

Sam Villa
Sam Villa
Sam Villa is a hairdresser, co-founder of Sam Villa® and Global Artistic Ambassador for Redken.