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Chocolate - Learning Skills Online
Thank you for your interest in our programs. As you look at our Programs, one of the first questions you may be asking yourself is: "How can I possibly learn to work with chocolate in an online environment?" We have been doing just that since 2003 and hopefully this page will answer that question for you.
More questions? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org We'd love to hear from you!
About Ecole Chocolat Online Learning
Founder & Lead Instructor Pam Williams discusses online learning:
In developing the curriculum for our chocolate programs, I looked back on my own experiences in starting my artisan chocolate business. I learned "on the job" by trial and error – very costly and stressful.
If I can give you one piece of advice, it's this: Learn and master while you have another job (including raising a family) or source of income. Once you open your business or start promoting yourself as an expert, you'll be so wrapped up in the "doing" that you won't have time for the "learning," and you'll make mistakes (which cost you money), or worse, make a fool of yourself – I speak from experience.
This is where our online chocolate programs can help because our goal is to make sure you know exactly what you're getting into BEFORE you start your business. How do we do that?
- We keep our programs affordable and you can learn without having to re-engineer or re-finance your family or work life.
- Our Learning Centre is a virtual interactive classroom - all you need is a computer, tablet or phone and the internet to access the curriculum 24/7.
- You study and practice on your schedule - there is no time during the program when you have to be online. Our students come from across the globe, so we cannot schedule timed activities such as live zooms*, live webcasts or synchronous chats, as someone will need to be up in the middle of their night in order to participate - which isn't fair. *The only exception are our short two week Masterclasses where there is are live sessions but they are recorded and live attendance isn't mandatory.
- You are not alone - besides learning from your lead instructor, you will go through the course with your online tutors and classmates - our typical class is around 25 - 30 students so you have lots of people from around the world to share successes, failures and questions.
- Our online programs are intensive - you'll spend anywhere from 50 - 120 hours on them and the curriculums are robust, containing anywhere from 75 to 122 learning activities which will ensure you develop the expertise you need.
Learning activities include: interactive forums and discussions, modern technique/recipe instructions, instructional, process and resource content that requires reading, real life stories both in case studies and in videos, glossaries, and practical assignments. Programs include a number of resource and tutorial videos covering specific chocolate techniques where demonstration is important such as tempering, enrobing, molding, using color on chocolate, etc.
An example of a Tutorial Video with Rachel, one of our online tutors.
Our technique videos are embedded in the online curriculum for viewing on any device.
But isn't face-to-face learning the best?
Don't get me wrong: Learning from a teacher or chef standing right beside you is great. But it's also expensive and doesn't give you the flexibility of practicing or researching when it fits your schedule. AND, once your two or three days of face-to-face training is over, so is the chef's support.
In our programs, you are with us for anywhere from two weeks to three months – plenty of time for us to help you solve any problems you run into during your practice. Also we have time to explain the WHY as well as the HOW so you can fix your own problems when they occur in the future. We have a very active online Graduate Centre where our students continue interacting long after the program is finished.
For better quality go to our Vimeo version
Chris Guillibeau's 'Side Hustle School' podcast! Check out what one of our graduates, Jeff Slaughter, had to say about online learning!
Also from my experience in starting my chocolate business from scratch, there were three major attributes I had to master before I could call myself a expert in chocolate:
- Appreciation of the craft – You continuously strive to improve your chocolate production skills by attention to detail and practicing over and over and over.
- Hunger for knowledge – You'll research extensively so you'll know your industry and product inside out. This will give you the confidence to answer any question from your clients or customers.
- Insatiable curiosity – As a chocolatier or chocolate maker, you come to know what's happening in the industry. You become the definitive source for information for your customers, media, readers or clients. You'll be able to source new suppliers and apply trends in product or processing to your business.
If you have these three attributes before you launch your new career as a chocolatier or chocolate maker, you're already a success.
Let's discuss those attributes in more detail.
Appreciation of the craft
Our online culinary classes will guide you step by step through a multitude of techniques and processes. After that, it's up to you and unfortunately there is no other way to master those techniques or processes then by practice, practice and more practice. Even the more expensive hands-on courses that are available don't give you enough time. You'll still have to go home and work on your technique and recipe development.
With our program, you won't be alone while you're practicing as you would be after a hands-on course. You'll be sharing your success and failure with your tutor, instructor and classmates. Assignments will direct your skills. For example, one assignment might be to conduct a formal evaluation of chocolate flavor. We then share everyone's unique perspective, experience and research. It's a learning experience far superior to just watching the teacher at the head of the class. And more importantly, you can work on your recipe development or production when it suits your schedule. With online learning we have time to do that over the length of the program instead of cramming all of it into three days or even a week or two.
And you'll keep those relationships you develop with your classmates as a source of support and encouragement in taking your career forward.
Hunger for knowledge
One of the interesting things that came out of my development of the online activities is that I assumed we would largely be able to rely on textbooks related to chocolate processing, history, manufacture or chemistry. Unfortunately, I found that books dealing in that type of subject matter are very expensive and focused on very large commercial operations.
So to augment our content, I had to go to the web for resource readings and case studies. And – guess what? – I found some really fabulous resources that will serve you long after you've completed the program. Sure, you could do this research on your own, given lots of time, but putting your hard-earned money into a formal program makes you get off the couch and get into learning mode. We all work better under deadlines.
We now have the greatest library at our fingertips – the Internet. We have compiled resource links that allow you to delve as lightly or deeply as you need. You'll get a true understanding of the magnitude of the chocolate industry, know who the players are and where to source your ingredients or equipment – again, without spending your valuable time researching on your own.
Are you ready to get started?
Now that you know all about how we teach chocolate making online, we'd love for you to explore our programs!↑
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