How Can In Person Training Organizations Compete With Online Learning

Christine Hollen provides tips on how organizations can effectively implement training to compete in a fast changing market.

Good teaching is everywhere, but top-notch, content-rich and engaging digital learning experiences are not. In the coming weeks, these topics will be discussed in a variety of settings, and the main themes will include shared economics of digital learning, what traditional teaching methods can’t do and the challenges of a learning culture that relies on e-learning.

With these things in mind, let’s take a deeper look at coaching, and how digital learning is moving from top-down to learner-centered.

Equally in High Demand

Leading education companies, marketing leaders and thought leaders have been providing expert coaching programs for decades. These programs are popular in part because they are truly immersive, engaging, science-based and eminently replicable.

So, why aren’t e-learning programs encouraged to provide coaching? It’s simple. E-learning programs use metrics to measure the success of individual courses. This provides companies with broad reporting information, but coaches don’t have the same visibility.

“There is no way to evaluate outcomes or to know if mentoring programs are working,” notes Neil Roberts, Vice President of Social Learning for Bizimply, an international technology and consulting firm in Michigan. “They have metrics for each point of failure, but it’s impossible to look back and know if any of those students made it in the world.”

Empowerment and Transformation

Once a lesson is completed, e-learning programs are hard-pressed to reinforce it. After a successful and engaging coaching session, Roberts reports that he coaches many repeat students who don’t finish the courses they are enrolled in or leave the company to learn another skill.

These learning programs require a great deal of communication between the instructor and the mentee. These are highly effective programs, and they work because people know they are in safe and trusted environments that are better trained to help them than anywhere else.

With e-learning programs, the learner is the instructor. They are free to find the skills they need, but many of these skills come from the mentor, rather than the classroom.

Many e-learning programs work well and are evaluated but it’s hard to prove their value when e-learning participants don’t have a peer-review or meaningful feedback mechanism.

Building the Content-Rich Learning Environment

One way to encourage mentor-mentee exchanges is by creating a learning ecosystem. This requires training, sharing of content, and regularly reviewing progress. The learning ecosystem is the anchor point for collaboration and a foundation for a platform for feedback.

Traditionally, university teaching methodologies emphasize constant development of content and a strong community of support. By contrast, e-learning programs, with many experienced instructors, encourage mentees to read extensively and take classes at their own pace.

Although e-learning courses have a strong focus on content, small groups and experts, the learning ecosystem creates the foundation for a platform where learners can experience real, meaningful feedback to influence personal and professional growth.

Connecting the E-Learning Experience with Coaching

Building the learning ecosystem can also be achieved through coaching and training, and it’s an option that will change the way e-learning is delivered and evaluated.

E-learning instructors have access to a slew of content that is complemented by online learning tools that support learning. A recent job posting in the lower divisions reported that their instructor, Jeremy Kealy, is building “a new platform for teaching and mentoring.”

Using the platform for coaching is the first step in building the learning ecosystem. As a learning process, this is linked to structured feedback. When it is coupled with e-learning instruction, data around behavior, identity, goal and performance, can guide tutors.

This model is an evolving field. Large organizations, such as IBM and Amazon, are pioneering learning ecosystems based on coaching and coaching content. Within this model, students join mentorship clubs and buy digital skills, and it’s not all about exploration.

Jeff Perry’s company 3D e-Learning works in partnership with large organizations. 3DeXchange provides tools, services and insights based on the combination of e-learning and coaching. Learning ecosystems allow for innovation and experimentation. They are not about coaching but about making a positive difference.

Even in a world where teaching methods are met with resistance from many, e-learning programs can succeed with this model. With time, and a commitment to connecting online and live content to coaching, practitioners will produce a highly engaging experience where learners flourish by learning from others as well as learning from themselves.

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