Live and Learn!
by Cheryl Cordier
Why studying an accredited programme online is no longer seen
as something only for the future!
Studying a programme or qualification online was always something that was possibly going to happen, sometime in the future. I remember having a heated debate with a lady at the Melbourne Food Show in 2017 about how we could possibly offer a cookery qualification online and yet here we are in 2022.
At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, the world was turned upside down overnight it seemed. Schools and tertiary education providers had to adapt to online teaching in a few days. Students who were fortunate enough to have the internet at home and access to a personal computer, were able to adapt quickly to home learning.
The important outcome of this is that students now want to learn from home. There has been a significant shift away from traditional face-to-face teaching and learning models to a blended delivery model. Students want the option of online learning as well as the social aspect of face-to-face traditional education. The range of online courses available is vast. Some companies offering online learning programmes have become unicorn businesses in a very short time, consider Go 1 (go1.com) and Future Learn (futurelearn.com), both online learning platforms that host International Culinary Studio’s skills programmes. One of the real benefits to the consumer of this shift in education is the greatly reduced cost of studying a professional programme.
Consumer needs have also changed, and education has responded. Where previously professional qualifications were valued, now online education offerings include professional development courses, short courses, micro-credentialed courses and community programmes. Universities and colleges are now able to offer programmes in a modular format and include life skills that add even more value to a programme.
One of the greatest challenges faced by schools and colleges moving to the online space, is the lack of well-developed and engaging content suitable for online use.
Over the past 7 years International Culinary Studio has refined its online qualifications and short courses through rigorous research, student feedback, continuous improvement and benchmarking to offer a world class online learning experience. Students have ready access to their learning material through their online course material and to their instructors via their learning portal. The Student App also makes learning easily accessible when students are away from home.t
A concern of teachers and lecturers is job redundancy! If anything, they now have a real opportunity to become mentors, instructors, facilitators, and story tellers; with the ‘lecturing’ component now readily available to the student, ‘lecturing’ has died. Lecturers now use a range of video conferencing tools and facilities to run live demonstrations, facilitate group work, and guide students through their programmes to successful completion. Personally, I remember my lecturers telling incredibly relevant stories when I was studying; these were way more relevant and beneficial than the those who taught according to the curriculum with the occasional anecdote.
Lecturers as we know them, still play a very important part of the online student’s life, creating the social aspect that can easily be forgotten when online programmes are developed. At International Culinary Studio, we hold monthly coffee and cake sessions for our students to get to know each other, run a private Facebook group for students only, as well as regular webinars for students. Interactive sessions are recorded and loaded into the library so that students who have missed the meet can view them in their own time. Creating interactive events, fosters a sense of belonging and camaraderie and facilitates peer interaction between students around the world.
Currency of programmes another critical aspect to online programmes today; students expect to learn more about current and future world concerns and trends. For example, at International Culinary Studio, Professional Programmes include a module on sustainability, keeping students up to date with best practice, something that should be a concern to everyone but is definitely important to younger students.
There are many benefits to studying a professional qualification through International Culinary Studio but key to this is that students can work and study earning globally recognised qualifications. Two of our International Programmes are awarded a Global Digital Badge through the World Association of Chefs‘ Société’s (WACS) in partnership with City & Guilds (UK) and the American Culinary Federation (ACCEF).