Every day we speak to mums who are considering doing our training and who understandably are thinking things through very carefully before making such a big commitment. In fact so many of you have similar queries as you go through the application process that we thought it would be useful to answer your top seven on our blog.
Nadia Binkuweir, our Co-Head of Learning, is just the woman to answer your questions. She has over 12 years of experience in adult learning and joined our team after 10 years at City & Guilds, global leaders in skills development and the UK’s largest vocational awarding body. Here we put your top seven questions to Nadia...
Your courses use a REAL learning model, what does this actually mean in reality?
You’ve probably seen on our website that rather than referring to our training as online courses, we talk about REAL learning. In its simplest form this means combining work/project based learning with online learning.
Unlike the majority of online courses out there, our focus is to get people job-ready so they can find rewarding work that fits in around family life. So instead of offering theory based courses with simulated projects, you will run a real life social media campaign during the training. This means you get to practice all the necessary elements of actually being a social media marketer but with the support of our Social Media Guides to help you on your way. We believe this gives you a level of experience you simply couldn’t get from a more traditional content and knowledge based course. Such learning will really help you to do the job for real when you graduate!
Can you really get mums job-ready by them doing a six month training course?
From the very beginning our aim at Digital Mums has been to support as many mums as possible back into work and to give them the tools to set themselves up as successful freelance social media managers working flexibly from home. According to our graduate survey from August, 66% of Course Graduates that want to, are currently working and 78% of Associate Programme graduates. This data is based on responses from 0-12 months since graduation but over half graduated less than three months ago. Although we are pleased we would like these to be much higher and you can read more about our plans for the Course here.
But let’s not sugar coat it, freelancing can be a tough way to earn a living. It's not as steady or as straight-forward as a regular 9-5. Making it happen can take a lot of hard work and determination to succeed (and a strong support network too!). To help with that, if you successfully pass the course, you can do our additional free Do The Hustle Course. This will give you all the tools you need to find work and set yourself up as a freelancer. Your learning doesn’t stop on graduation, being a social media manager will be a constant learning curve. To help with this there is the brilliant DMCollective, our alumni community, that you join after successfully graduating. The depth of knowledge and support all our mums give each other really is amazing! We are also currently testing a jobs board with our graduates which we hope to roll out in 2018.
Your courses are a huge investment, how can you justify the price?
We really do wish that we could deliver them at a lower price point but it’s just not possible. REAL learning is much more expensive to deliver than other online courses which stick to theoretical and paper-based learning. The skills based assessment that we use costs more as we are feeding back to students individually (more on that in a minute) on their specific campaigns.
Also when comparing course costs it’s important to realise that courses offered by local colleges or universities are usually heavily subsidised by government funding. It’s a complicated area but even when a college does offer a privately funded course their central resources like IT, HR and finance are still supported by gains on subsidised courses.
Then you have to add the big chunk of VAT which we can’t control plus there is covering our costs as a business including the bursaries we offer.
The good news is that to help with costs, Career Development Loans are an option for new students on the Social Media Management Course. You can read all about how to apply for one in this blog.
Are the Digital Mums Courses Accredited?
The Course and the Programme are both accredited by The CPD (Continuing Professional Development) Standards Office. In order to achieve this accreditation both Digital Mums and our courses were subject to a rigorous assessment process which scrutinised the learner experience from start to finish.
The CPD Standards Office is one of the UK’s foremost vocational and skills-based certification body. The CPD stamp of approval will add gravitas to your CV or LinkedIn profiles and forms hard evidence to prospective employers of completing training that is heavyweight in the working world. It’s a third party endorsement to the excellence of our training.
How does assessment on your courses actually work?
We use standard competence based assessment to determine whether you either can or can’t do something in terms of being job-ready. Our assessment model works through a combination of formative assessment by giving you feedback during your campaign and as a final summative assessment when you finish. When assessing your learning we are looking at the evidence you have gathered over the course of your campaign and making a judgement as to whether you have become a competent Social Media Manager. This is why your result is issued as a pass or fail, you are either competent or not. It may take a bit of getting used to if the last learning you did was school or university but grades just aren't relevant for this sort of training.
We’ve also listened to current students and understand that more feedback is needed along the way. On the new version of the Social Media Management Course launching in January we include more webinars and Q&A Sessions and more feedback on your campaign. We also give you written feedback on the final report you submit at the end of the training. Speak to Admissions and they can give you a precise list of the 1;1/ feedback touch points.
WIll I feel supported during the training?
We feel it is so important that you feel supported during the training (and beyond in the DMCollective). That’s why on all our courses you will have access to the Captains who provide expert, online Q&A support on any social media challenge Monday-Sunday (average response time is around seven hours). Students have told us they would appreciate written answers to common social media challenges so we have introduced hundreds of FAQs for all training topics, provided in a dedicated support area as a first port of call for challenges.
On the Social Media Management Course previous students also requested more support from their Social Media Guides in crucial weeks around particularly challenging topics. We have introduced five online lessons/webinars run by Guides so students can ask them questions and receive support. We are also exploring further additional webinars that need to be discussed with existing students to design them around their needs.
And the other really important support network is your peer group of fellow mums that you will be matched up with during training. Believe us when we say you’ll get to know these ladies VERY well. From critiquing each other’s work to your weekly hangouts they will become an important part of your Digital Mums experience.
Is there really enough work for so many social media managers?
We are regularly contacted by businesses looking for social media support. There are just over 5m businesses in the UK. 57% of them use social media for their marketing and the amount they spend on social media is growing rapidly. So that’s 2m potential clients and growing. Even if only 10% hired a social media manager that’s still 200,000 businesses. We have just over 1000 students/graduates at the moment so we’re confident there’s still a long way to go before we reach saturation point.
Got another burning question that you’d love to be answered? Talk to our Admissions team today. We are currently taking applications for both our training courses starting in January 2018.