Chloe Randall

Online Education: Jacqui O’Sullivan on the pros and cons

By Chloe Randall | 28 January 2021 | Expert Advice, Feature

Jacquiosullivan Web Feature

Award-winning nail specialist and educator, Jacqui O’Sullivan shares her thoughts on online education in the nail industry and where the future is taking us in terms of learning.

What are the pros and cons of online education vs face to face? To both the educator and the learner?

 At the moment everyone from primary school children, through to university and higher education learners are receiving some form of online learning. From Zoom, Google Classrooms or Microsoft Teams lessons or to some form of online-assisted learning is being used.

There are those who still believe that nothing can really take the place of an educator and face-to-face teaching. Below I will list some of the pros and cons of online teaching that I have experienced during the pandemic.


  • The learners do not have to travel to college and can study from home.
  • Learners can sometimes have more flexibility of the times they access their classes fitting in with their schedules.
  • Online learning allows verbal and face-to-face interaction during set times as well as accessing recorded classes.
  • I record all lessons so students can replay content as needed, so they can master what has been taught.
  • All teaching recourses are online and they can be accessed at any time, or printed out as a learner chooses.
  • Feedback from quizzes and exams can be given and recorded so learners have up to date knowledge of their progress.



  • There are times when teaching or observing a practical lesson in a classroom is better as I can interact as necessary with my learners immediately without having to wait to ask questions.
  • A learner may not have access to online equipment such as a tablet or laptop.
  • Not everyone has access to stable internet connection.
  • It can be difficult to motivate some learners to join online classes.
  • Some theory lessons may be provided using long powerpoint presentations and can be challenging for the learners and educator.
  • Personal contact with my learners can be limited and this can mean a delay in any response to them.
  • Some practical sessions can be difficult for a learner to perform in an online learning environment, especially those where a salon professional service is being observed. There may be equipment and supplies that must be on-site, and the educator may need to physically observe the learner use the equipment safely and competently.

 What should nail techs look for in an online course? What should be avoided?

Some courses offer a formal qualification and an overview of different areas (NVQ, SNVQ or VRQ), whereas others offer product diplomas or specialise in L&P , UV gel or nail art and design.

Whatever online learning you are interested in taking, please look for courses that offer these core modules:

  • Health & safety/insurance recognition
  • Anatomy & physiology
  • Chemical structure of nail products
  • Client care & communication
  • Practical elements of the services you will offer
  • Qualification received and aftercare support
  • Qualifications held by the educator
  • Cost of equipment and products needed to complete course
  • How your work will be assessed and feedback given


What are your thoughts on learning in a post-Covid world? Has virtual learning changed the nail learning landscape for good?

I believe the pandemic has brought forward the use of online learning. We are experiencing a really challenging time for all. It is a time for flexibility, innovation, and development. Educators and learners need to work together to change the way we learn and teach. As an educator myself I have had to find ways to really develop my learners skills, understanding and experience. An online programme alongside face to face teaching can give an excellent opportunity for professional development that will enhance a learning experience as we move forward to the new normal of blended and online learning.

For more of an insight into online education with the experts, please purchase a copy of our February issue!