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A Blended Learning Experience for L’Oréal Professionnel’s Colour Specialist Course

French beauty company L’Oréal is the world’s largest cosmetics company and an instantly recognizable global brand for make-up, perfume, skincare and hair treatments.

L’Oréal Professionnel wanted to transform their popular ‘Colour Specialist’ training, aimed at a UK audience. This exclusive course is in huge demand, giving unrivaled color experience to salon professionals who want to offer the very best customer service and education advice.

The ‘Colour Specialist’ course is the most prestigious specialist course in hair color in the UK. It had been running since 1998 as an intensive 13-week program formed largely of face-to-face training, culminating in three days of assessments. L’Oréal Professionnel saw the opportunity to improve the learning environment with supplying eLearning modules to support the face-to-face course, increase knowledge transfer, as well as allowing clients to complete more practical training in their own salons.

The Challenge

The main challenge was how to reduce recapping time session-by-session in favor of digital learning modules that can be accessed at any time to work with in the hairdresser’s schedule, empowering the hairdresser to revise and retain information when they can, rather than just within the face-to-face class.

L’Oréal Professionnel recognized that their hairdressers may not be used to digital learning. To be effective, the design needed to be instinctive to use, with the ability to complete modules in 15-minute periods to accommodate downtime between client appointments.

In addition, the existing assessments from the face-to-face modules did not support knowledge transfer, largely due to the time that would pass between the learning and the assessment. This required extra time to be spent recapping previous content, in turn lowering learner confidence and completion rates.

  • Blending digital and face-to-face training

  • Mobile learning optimized for use in client salons or on the go

  • Microlearning for enhanced knowledge retention

The team has found it a real benefit having the eLearning modules to support what is taught in the class. We have found that learners have to spend less time recapping over elements from the previous week and that students feel much more confident and prepared for their final exams. As well as using the modules throughout the course, they are redoing them to help revise for assessments and exams. The fact that the course is now truly blended learning ensures the students have a more well-rounded education experience.

– Kelli Brookes, Access Digital Education Manager PPD, L’Oréal Professionnel

The Solution

A tailored blended learning solution was created that allowed hairdressers to complete the course on a mobile or tablet, via both distance learning and alongside a tutor in practical, salon-based training.

Central to the solution was an instinctive learner journey that could be completed in bite-sized modules around working schedules. These modules integrated assessments throughout the journey, offering continual feedback that allowed tutors to adjust support levels according to individual needs.

Due to the highly practical nature of the industry, face-to-face training would remain an important part of the learning blend. A shift towards microlearning, with regular assessments, aimed to improve knowledge transfer and increase assessment pass rates.

Design features such as interactive PDFs allowed hairdressers to annotate and upload images of real case studies to explain their decision-making. For example, had they followed the procedures to test for allergies? Behind the scenes, this upload seamlessly sent data to an LMS and allowed tutors to comment and assess, creating an immediate feedback loop that supported knowledge transfer.

A simple learner journey with a clean, minimalist design using aspirational photography appealed to those not familiar with digital learning. The eLearning also made use of illustrations, diagrams and references—perfect for revision and for finding on-the-job resources.

For over 20 years the ‘Colour Specialist’ course continues to be our most prestigious color education course at L’Oréal Professionnel, with an outstanding reputation in the hairdressing industry. We are always striving to inject new innovation and learnings year-on-year and our natural development was to incorporate a blended learning experience on the launch of L’Oréal Professionnel Access. [The course] allows the hairdresser to learn at their pace, in their time, and to have the ability to revisit as many times as required. The addition of the ‘Colour Specialist’ eLearning, created by the team at LEO Learning, has enriched our program with an increased success rate.

– Wendy Frame, Regional Education Manager, L’Oréal Professionnel

The Results

The response from the learners has been positive, with praise for the easy-to-follow design and ability to use learning resources as revision tools.

In addition, the effectiveness of the revised learning program was backed up by data-led insights:

  • The blend was implemented in 2019 and year-to-year comparison saw a 67% increase in learners completing with a higher pass rate.
  • Over the same period, students passing with a distinction has risen by 43%. A distinction grade is given when a student achieves a pass rate over 97%.

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