Once relegated to the back-burner of professional education, online learning has come a long way in recent years. At EWA, we decided to launch an online course covering the fundamentals of whisky production for several reasons. Foremost, we wanted to offer an extensive whisky education experience to enthusiasts world-wide, especially for those who might not be able to travel to Scotland for one of our Whisky Diploma courses. We also understood that for many whisky enthusiasts, our two-day Diploma in Single Malt Whisky is quite intensive. Our Introduction to Whisky Certificate was designed to cover a knowledge base that students could grasp at their own pace, before progressing onto to our more in-depth courses.
I used to have a professor at university who used to say, ‘wetting the sponge is the hardest part’, meaning, your first foray into a field is always the most difficult. With our online course, students can progress through the modules at whatever pace feels right for them. They have the option of returning to material they might have forgotten or misunderstood. All of the benefits of online learning are buoyed by the fact that students are put in contact with EWA and can address further questions to our team whenever they choose. The Introduction to Whisky Certificate is intended to serve as the Edinburgh Whisky Academy’s first tier of Scotch whisky education to meet the needs and goals of all whisky enthusiasts and professionals in the hospitality and spirit industries.
We also understood that online learning suits the lifestyle and needs of spirit retailers and professionals in the hospitality industry. Our course was designed to offer new skills and knowledge to professionals who may be looking to make a career change or to set themselves apart with an additional professional qualification.
With the rising costs of higher education and the changing nature of career progression, the online course from EWA is especially suited to millennials who may be considering a pivot in their career. We have designed the online Introduction to Whisky Certificate to present material at the same calibre as our Diploma courses in Whisky, while seeking to address the needs of young professionals who require transferable skills for a quickly-changing job market.
Another huge motivation for developing an online course was the desire to meet the needs of those with different learning styles. The latest version of the online course is especially suited to those who learn best with visual explanations and diagrams. We have created interactive activities, centred around each phase of Scotch whisky production, to help candidates cement their understanding of the learning outcomes in each of the eight modules included in the online course.
The final, and arguably, most important, reason we wanted to create on online course, was to offer a certification from the Scottish Qualifications Authority, the public accreditation body of the Scottish government, to any enthusiast or professional who has the motivation to attain one. We understand that flying to Scotland is not an option for everyone. Our approved-status as a centre of Scotch Whisky Education by the SQA means that the Edinburgh Whisky Academy is externally verified to ensure that learning benchmarks are always met, and that our candidates consistently receive the highest standard of education in the field. The opportunity to gain an SQA certification in Scotch Whisky is unique to the Edinburgh Whisky Academy. In this sense, creating an online course was the logical next step for EWA, in our mission to improve whisky education globally.