How Teaching Is Rapidly Changing

by Judy Rambert, Pivot Point International

Thanks to the power of the internet and its robust ability to search answers to any question, learning for both student and trainer will never be the same.

Recently, a Pivot Point Academy educator told about a class exercise in a haircolor class, specifically on the wide variety of shades of red that is so trendy today.

By simply asking students to take out their smart phones and search online for celebrity redheads, it took just seconds for images representing various hues of red to circulate around the classroom.

The students were energized and immediately understood the potential of haircolor. This example illustrated how much teaching and learning has changed and how much it will change in the future.

Learning is personal. Learning is social. These two fundamental concepts of how we learn today may seem contradictory at first glance. But they are the concepts we currently use to train our teachers to be properly prepared for the new generation of cosmetology learners. And they certainly align with the age of technology and evolution of the internet.

Here are the facts on which Pivot Point now bases Mindful Teaching educators curriculum. They also apply to in-salon training of professionals: when information connects to a personal interest, learning is more likely to occur.

When today's learners collaborate with one another and share opinions, it is even more likely that new information is remembered. This is true for all of us, no matter what our generation.

In today's high schools, future salon professionals are already learning with a variety of new technologies integrated into their class work. Traditional classes combine media-rich experiences to create hybrid learning environments where print and online merge.

Social skills are being taught through collaborative opportunities. Learning groups are given team assignments with the responsibility of communicating with one another to create joint results. These learners will soon be in your salons. Generation Y – usually 20-somethings are already with you.

Generation Y (born early 80s to early-2000s) are extremely digital savvy and expect to continue learning using familiar computers, tablets and mobile devices. They want to remain connected with others and have access to relevant content.

Allowing students to generate teaching content themselves fosters the sense of involvement and community that leads to positive experiences for Gen Y and will increase an impact across generations.

What does this mean for salon training?

Our entire beauty industry needs to gear up – and gear up quickly – for tomorrow's learner. And, we all need to rethink how and where learning occurs. Today's K-12 student is already familiar with the learning via tablet or computer, smart phone and apps.

They can review examples, practice problems, view videos and take notes – all electronically. Grade school and high school teachers are using these applications to track their students' progress. So we need to be prepared to advance this generation's education when they reach our beauty academies and eventually the salon.

Putting such innovations to use is integral to creating meaningful experiences for future generations of salon professionals. Pivot Point's Artist Access online learning system, introduced in early 2011, offers cosmetology learners and educators rich video content for the classroom as well as for individual study.

There is also an app for Meta, a hairstyle collection and workshop, that hairdressers can use to get inspiration or in client consultations. In the classroom, our students learn by watching their curriculum materials displayed via the internet. Then they can review the content later in private at their own pace. Mobile versions of the content allow learning moments to occur throughout the day whether they are in school or at home.

What can salon owners do?

Salon owners and artistic directors must rethink how to develop learning opportunities for young stylists, both inside and outside the salon. You can do this by acknowledging learning moments and allowing mobile access in the salon.

Our salon industry has an abundance of relevant online resources. You can direct new professionals to websites that reflect your salon's culture.

When it is time to renew CEUs, consider supporting online classes, in addition to traditional hands-on workshops. Hold discussion sessions to share what was learned online with the entire staff. Set team-based goals for online learning and monitor the results by consistently asking staffers for feedback.

The beauty industry is already socially driven. Our tight-knit group of like-minded people is keen to share their experience and ideas. This is true for students and professionals alike. If you're not already embracing technology tools to teach, now is the time to do so. Embrace technology because this is how our current, and certainly our next generation of professionals, will expect to learn tomorrow.

Judy Rambert, vice president of education and research for Pivot Point International, is a 34-year veteran of the company, and responsible for quality control for Pivot Point's educational programs.