The advent of technology and connectivity has unarguably democratized the dissemination of knowledge and information. This fundamental change in how we consume and experience information has made good quality learning content accessible, often at reasonable or no cost.
However, the biggest advantage offered by these new centers of online learning also happens to be their biggest limitation. While most digital learning platforms have figured out how to transfer information in standardized courses and modules, they are still finding a way to personalize the learning journey with the right support, mentorship, and user-relevant knowledge. That’s because skill-building is the sum of knowledge transfer and practicing it under the right supervision or mentorship, and the latter is notoriously challenging to provide only through a screen.
Very few industries have managed to strike the right balance between these two aspects. Health and fitness, for example, relies on both wearable technology and guidance from experts to help users become a fitter version of themselves. That’s because mere knowledge of how to eat better, or meditate better, or exercise better is of no use unless it is put to use. Similarly, new models and processes of learning are slowly, but surely, challenging and changing the traditional forms of online learning in the corporate skilling and training domain.
In this article, we discuss how the corporate training industry needs to incorporate coaching in existing learning journeys, how do businesses go about redefining learning outcomes, and why the success of Vani.coach signifies a new paradigm of learning that ensures successful skilling at scale through personalized coaching and technology.
Corporate learning and training: The difference that coaching can make
In the HR learning and development space, the focus over the last decade has been predominantly on digitizing the learning content, rather than focusing on the learning experience and journey. That’s why products like Vani.coach, a communication coaching platform for holistic professional development -- which incidentally draws inspiration from leading health apps and platforms -- that help learners form a habit of practice are able to stand out in a saturated market of service-providers that seem to offer near-similar solutions.
When learners initially start using Vani.coach, they usually require (and receive) nudges in the form of notifications, personal messages, and reminders from dedicated coaches to build a sense of discipline and commitment towards learning. It is only when learners reach the third or fourth week mark when the habit formation begins and the practice starts happening reflexively. As a result, engagement levels sustain without the need for additional nudges and interventions. By the time most users complete six weeks on Vani, they actually end up spending more time learning on the platform than required.
Thus, adding the aspect of personalized coaching alongside online learning helps users in overcoming two crucial obstacles with traditionally-styled learning platforms:
- Developing discipline and persistence
- Ensuring regular practice and application of learned knowledge and concepts
At Vani.coach, coaching, and skilling programs have been developed creating the analogy of training for a sports marathon in mind. The design of the program is such that despite the same learning content, each learner with different capabilities and starting points is able to train in a way most suitable for them. Much like preparing for a marathon, the goal is not just to achieve a short-term feather in the cap (like a certification or high score); but a long-term sustainable change in the way of learning and developing a critical skill.
The importance of redefining learning outcomes
In order to learn the right knowledge, in the right manner, and apply it at the right moment, as a fraternity, we need to clearly establish what we mean by high learning outcomes. More importantly, we need to start including and measuring aspects of behavioral change in assessing the achievements of these outcomes. Furthermore, we need to track the journey from on-paper learning to practical learning, for both technical and soft skills. This can be measured by gauging the efficacy of existing processes and workflows for individuals, and how it changes for them specifically post-coaching.
Consider the inability of employees to communicate or give presentations confidently. When Vani.coach worked with a large pharmaceutical company whose employees were struggling to face auditors, sustain client conversations, and had low language proficiency level, the company had already tried multiple learning solutions with limited success. Vani provided a result-oriented communication fitness scalable learning solution that personalized learning processes with coaching and offered the right balance of human and tech elements. In addition to a 165% improvement in demonstrated on-ground behavior, employees were able to confidently communicate, pitch, and present to internal and external stakeholders.
Why does this change of approach matter, and how to achieve it?
This new paradigm of learning that focuses on outcomes rather than content or lessons is necessary for the evolution of the L&D industry. Vani’s approach and training methodologies demonstrate that a trade-off between skilling and scale is not necessary anymore. We are living in a world where we can harness the best of technology, human creativity and intellect, and use multi-disciplinary research to create a learning strategy that ensures real and tangible outcomes.
But how do these elements come together to ensure success? There are certain indispensable aspects to coaching that form the foundation of this partnership:
- Creating processes that encourage self-work: Training and coaching programs need to keep self-work and practice at the center of their course structures to focus on practical application as much as knowledge acquisition.
- Focusing on learning outcome: Learning goals and outcomes need to be redesigned to account for behavioral changes and on-ground impact, rather than vanity metrics and standardized assessment tests.
- Not trading scale for personalization: Refusing to participate in the trade-off that allows personalized coaching to select employees or standardized training to the entire workforce.
- Cultivating leaders and managers as coaches: Creating in-house coaches that can act as guides, motivators, leaders, and offer the right learning support at the right time.
The way forward for L&D and training
To further and build on the new landscape of learning, learning experts, service providers, and HR leaders must think beyond remote learning or bite-sized modules. HR needs to collaborate with the right L&D partners who not only use cutting-edge technology to personalize learning but also inculcate the practice of self-learning, provide guidance through coaching, instil discipline, and build motivation.
Unless learning platforms are able to ensure that the application of knowledge continues even after the completion of the course or beyond the guidance of the coach, we will only be utilising half the potential of the systems we create. Vani.coach has studied, built, implemented and proven the efficacy of learning systems that are geared towards application, coaching, and skilling at scale. With an aim to develop hundreds of thousands of peer coaches and experts over the next few years, Vani is on a mission to make communications learning, skilling, and coaching a fruitful and enjoyable experience again.