But Why?
Online Education: The WIndow to a World of Learning
by Jonathan David
I remember when I was in my early twenties, two friends of mine purchased videophones so they could call one another and see each other in real time. At the time, this was unheard of; these were things we only imagined or saw in movies about the future. But here it was, the future happening right before my eyes. Now, however, those first videophones were very primitive compared to the technology in phones and computers today.

Little did I know, this was just the beginning of the technology world changing so rapidly that sometimes I feel like just as I figure out to how to use a new device, it gets replaced by the new and improved with harder-to-learn features. Convenience and speed became the dominating theme in everyday life. We were suddenly connected to anyone and everyone we wanted to reach with the simple stroke of a few buttons on our keyboard, and eventually our phone. And this opened up a world that, for some, was unreachable before.

Now, we can debate the pros and cons of the internet, but, in my opinion, the pros far outweigh the cons. The accessibility to things we once either had to travel far distances to acquire or simply do without are now completely accessible from anywhere you are. This convenience has crept into every corner of our lives, but one corner that I think the internet has become the most useful is in the field of education.

But why has using the internet as a learning tool become so important?

The ability to access information, education, training, and certification via online courses and live webinars has completely changed the educational industry. This technology has become engrained into the educational systems of industries worldwide for years, but the emergence of COVID-19 and the inability to have in-person learning catapulted online education to the forefront and established online education as a valuable and permanent resource.

Online education comes in many forms. There are streaming platforms with a vast variety of videos and tutorials to view at your convenience; there are online courses that you can take from the comfort of your living room; and there are live webinars and discussions that you can access during and after the initial live stream. Online education allows people from all over the world to be able to share information and teach skills without ever having to leave their home or office—and the grooming industry has seized upon the opportunity to utilize online education to teach and connect pet groomers around the globe.

The ability to access information, education, training, and certification via online courses and live webinars has completely changed the educational industry.
One particular online educational resource that has become extremely popular in the grooming industry is Barkleigh’s World Groom events. Born out of a necessity to continue benefiting pet groomers during the constraints of the pandemic, Barkleigh came up with the idea to do an online expo offering educational courses utilizing the Zoom platform to create a virtual event where pet grooming professionals could continue receiving quality education from industry leaders, and take advantage of deals and savings from the industry vendors.

What began as an alternative to get through the difficult times has since turned into a fixture in grooming education. After several virtual shows, and even once the in-person shows began to resume, it became apparent that there was still a demand for the virtual education. The appeal is understandable; pet groomers all over the world can take classes instructed by people they would otherwise have never had the opportunity to learn from due to travel or financial constraints, etc. There are no limitations to the number of people that can attend and, best of all, the webinars are available for playback after the session is over, ensuring that you don’t miss a single thing.

In-person shows are fantastic, and I highly recommend them to every groomer, but when two classes that interest you are happening at the same time, you’re forced to make the choice between the two. Whereas with online education, you can watch each session from your computer or device at your convenience, an option that is extremely appealing to the groomers that have attended. So much so that several groomers have participated in every single World Groom event, and they took advantage of the diverse educational topics.

Lisa Ginn of Cottage, MN is a self-employed pet groomer who runs her own salon, Lisa’s Fabulous Paws. When asked what it is about online education that appeals to her so much, she responded, “You don’t have to leave as you do for in-person trade shows, and you can continue to groom your clients so you don’t lose money. I also like it because I pay for my groomers to attend continuing education programs, so they too are getting more bang for the buck!”

Dominique Steele of Riverview, FL is an employee at a salon and had this to share about the online education: “I really appreciate the playback option, it gives me a chance to catch something I missed! I try to soak in all the information that is provided to become a better groomer than I was yesterday,” Steele continues. “I love in-person classes, but I think the online classes will always be a favorite of mine—and that uninterrupted playback option is key!”

Another factor that was unanimous among all the attendees that I spoke with was that they felt that they really got something out of it; that the topics were beneficial and they were inspired to try out the new techniques that they learned.

The instructional grooming demos aren’t the only popular topics either, there are business webinars, mobile grooming webinars, education about tools, products and self-care, and the list goes on!

The benefits aren’t limited to just the groomers that attend, the vendors have also played an important part of the appeal of online education. I spoke to a representative from Groomers Mall who said, “The online shows are a great offering for rural communities where an in-person event is not possible for them. Also keeping the content fresh and relevant is key to online shows.”

Whether you’re a newbie groomer just beginning your journey in the pet grooming industry or a seasoned groomer with years of experience, there are always things to be learned. The variety of options available to pet groomers via online education is growing constantly and there is no short supply of demand. So, if you haven’t joined a webinar in the past, I would highly recommend that you try it out and see what the world of online education has to offer. In-person shows will always be a hit, but the convenience and value of online education is something not to be missed!