30 June 2022

7 Key Things to Consider When Choosing An External Training Partner

Author: Benjamin Joseph, Co-Founder and CEO at Learnlight, and Rupert Hillier, Co-Founder and COO at Learnlight

Lessons learned from training over 500,000 corporate learners across the globe.

The most useful item in a HR leader’s toolbox today? Corporate training.

The corporate landscape is changing rapidly in response to globalization, technology, and a shift in mindset about corporate culture. Roles and career paths for individual employees are taking on new meaning and becoming more personal than ever before. In order to support this, HR leaders are optimizing and enriching the way that their employees learn, evolve, and grow.

Why does corporate employee training matter so much? 

Because developing skills through corporate learning drives engagement, wellness, and growth. LinkedIn’s 2019 Workplace Learning & Development Report demonstrated that 94% of employees surveyed would stay longer at a company if they felt it was investing in their learning and development.

Corporate training enhances engagement – and engaged employees are more productive and invested than those who feel disengaged. In fact, a survey by the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) found that companies with “comprehensive training programs” had 218% higher revenue per employee and 24% higher profit margins than those that focused less on employee training programs.

Corporate training programs have developed rapidly to meet the needs of modern-day businesses, leveraging the power of the digital age. Modules that were once delivered over the telephone or face-to-face in offices around the world have now been transformed into something far different. In order to be effective, virtual, blended or face-to-face learning must now challenge convention, use science-backed methodologies, drive true engagement, and really make an impact.

Over the past fifteen years at Learnlight, we have successfully trained over 500,000 adults across language, communication, and intercultural skills. Here are seven key lessons learned from building effective training and development programs for corporate learners, along with the main things you should consider when choosing a corporate training partner for your organization.

Learning Requires a Human Touch

eLearning and virtual instructor-led methodologies have increased significantly in the past years, with over 98% of companies incorporating virtual training into their learning and development strategy in 2020, according to Deloitte. The COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated the adoption of virtual learning, as companies had to quickly pivot in response to being unable to host face-to-face experiences.

While the potential of virtual learning is great, on average only 12% of learners say they apply the skills from the training they receive to their job. There’s a right way to go about virtual learning to make it truly enriching. The secret ingredient that makes all the difference? The human touch. This helps drive up both engagement and retention.

Enhancing Your Training’s Human Touch

  • Bring in a Dedicated Coach: Having a dedicated trainer to walk alongside a learner has proven to be an effective way to teach adults. In the same way that an incredible teacher could take a complicated concept and explain it in such a way that it made sense, a trainer can organize and deliver learning information for maximum effect. 
  • Build a Community: Learners comprehend new information and skills more effectively when watching someone else demonstrate the information or perform the skill. Creating a community and enabling social learning can break down organizational silos and improve knowledge retention and application. 
  • Increase Customization: It’s important to customize your training programs to your learners. A good trainer can customize your training program to select the most useful materials and activities to deliver the lessons as effectively as possible. They should also provide constructive, actionable feedback to facilitate a learner’s progression through the course and attainment of skill mastery.

Learning Requires a Personal Touch

In order to create impactful learning experiences, HR leaders must ensure that the training program for their talent has a personal touch. This means understanding the ins and outs of the company, the learner’s ecosystem, and each individual’s unique learning style. Personal and highly relevant training programs enable relevant, actionable, high-retention lessons that will truly help the learner to progress, be promoted, and/or move on to their next challenge.

Developing Training with a Personal Touch

  • Understand the Outcome: In order to empower the learner to solve problems common to their industry and specialization, you need to understand what your training aims are, as well as the desired outcome.
  • Maximize Personalization: The most effective learning is bespoke. Although organized, selected, programmed and delivered for maximum impact, training must still be fluid enough to fit the learner’s pace and needs, delivered across various learning materials and activities.
  • Implement Adaptive eLearning technology: Provide learners with the training information they need at the time they need it. Depending on how learners answer questions, the material should change to either re-educate them on certain subjects or reinforce information they already know, ensuring they have a thorough understanding of what is being taught.

Learning Requires Commitment

Learning a new skill requires daily commitment. It’s the same as trying to reach that next level of fitness – you need to take daily steps in order to progress, from working out to eating healthily. It also requires long-term commitment. eLearning technology that uses questions to challenge learners to recall information at different intervals, from days to months apart, increases information retention. However, according to a recent study by Deloitte, the average employee has around 24 minutes in a working week to dedicate to their development. 

In order to build lasting and effective training programs for corporate learners, learning should be integrated into the daily lives of the people being trained. 

Cultivating Commitment to Training

  • Create Short Bursts of Content: Offering online training in short five-minute bursts each day means employees can increase their knowledge on an ongoing basis over time without feeling overwhelmed. It also helps them to squeeze their learning into tiny gaps in their day. 
  • Enable Mobile On-Demand Content: Learners need some flexibility around when and where they can take development courses. With mobile-friendly, on-demand content, they have the freedom to integrate their training into their existing schedules and are empowered to take these courses at a time when they are most prepared to manage their cognitive load. 
  • Provide a Coach: Purely digital courses can often become like those unused gym memberships – easily forgotten. However, assigning your learners with a personal coach to guide them through a tailor-made program, ensures maximum engagement, motivation, and impact.  

Learning Requires Engagement

The modern learner is being pulled in many different directions, often left overwhelmed, distracted, and even occasionally uninterested. This poses a challenge for the field of eLearning.  

Technology that allows learners to play a more active role in their learning promotes interaction, engagement, and long-term memory. It also reinforces the information in the brain, so learners have a lower chance of forgetting the material completely. 

Increasing Virtual Student Engagement

  • Tailor Your Content: Today’s learner needs resources and training that will prepare them to solve a problem when it happens. Providing them with relevant content that they can navigate at their own pace while providing them with supplemental resources like job aids or materials will promote a sense of engagement and immediate value.  
  • Provide Different Ways to Learn: Skill mastery is the ability to apply what one has learned. Providing different ways to learn, whether it be through video, reading, writing, or audio, and providing opportunities to apply what has been learned will improve knowledge retention and thus the efficacy of your training program. 
  • Keep Track of Progress: Providing learners with a learning path and showcasing their progression, while providing constructive, actionable feedback improves engagement and course completion. 

The Way You Learn Always Changes

As the rise of social media and mobile phones forever changed how we interact, discover news, and share information, that level of interactivity moved into workplaces and impacted how we develop talent. Learning itself is a fluid and dynamic process. Learning methodology, therefore, should be something living and continuously evolving, too.

Evolving the Learning Experience

  • Create Interesting Channels for Learning: The mix of learning methods has diversified and corporate learners have more access to learning tools than ever before. Whether that’s voice, text, or video, learners require interesting learning channels that cater to how they best consume and internalize new information. 

Not All Trainers are Created Equal

HR leaders should understand that when it comes to delivering training, be it virtual, face-to-face, or a combination of the two, not all trainers are created equal. It takes a special person to successfully teach.

Finding Professional Trainers

  • Find Unique Individuals: In our experience, a successful trainer is not about a list of credentials. It’s about the person as an individual – their communications style, how much energy they bring, and their positivity. These are nontangible but very important skills that foster a human connection and promote interaction and engagement.  
  • Match Learners and Trainers: A trainer that is appropriate for one learner is not necessarily the best for another learner. A strong training partner should ensure their learners have access to a variety of trainers, enabling them to select one that they connect with. 

Showcasing Training Results

At school and university, knowledge is valued in itself, and learners’ success is measured purely in terms of test scores. However, in corporate training, the gold standard of mastery is not a final exam, but the learner’s use of that skill in real work and life situations.  

When it comes to learning investment, HR leaders already know how important it is to showcase returns. In the past, it used to be enough simply to deliver monthly reports, but today it’s important to provide real-time transparency into the positive impact the training has on the business and its employees.

Creating a Culture of Showcasing Returns

  • Evaluating Beyond Attendance: Look beyond attendance metrics and create access to all critical data on course completion, satisfaction, engagement, and more, to easily identify trends in your employees’ learning journey and accurately measure whether your training is delivering results. 

Final Notes

At Learnlight, we consistently apply these seven lessons to build lasting and effective language, communication, and intercultural skills programs. 

With Learnlight Coach, learners are assigned a dedicated trainer who guides them through a tailor-made program. This highly flexible service supports even the busiest professionals with 24–hour availability and on-demand rescheduling. After every live session, learners receive a personalized feedback report with learnings they can later access through their flashcard library.  

With access to over 3000 trainers across the globe, our learners can select the trainer that best suits their needs and one that they have a true connection with, providing a transformative learning experience. 

Fully Personalized Programs

We also offer fully personalized learning programs, designed to guide corporate language and multicultural learners through relevant, applicable, and immersive content. This includes essential curriculum activities, up-to-the-minute magazine articles, and real-life projects and assignments. Our language training courses allow learners from across the globe to connect in a virtual café setting where they can be guided by trainers and engage around topics of interest, building a community and enabling learners to learn from one another. 

Our content is bite-sized, consumed in as little as five to ten minutes. It’s accessible anytime and anywhere through our mobile app and content is available on-demand so that your teams can learn during a morning commute, between meetings or over lunch.  

Our Corporate Training Platform

Our own Learnlight Empowerment Method™ (LEM) forms the heart of our corporate learning methodology. It’s designed to drive engagement and accelerate learning, based on the latest scientific research that places learners at the center of the experience. LEM is optimized for both digital natives (millennials) and digital immigrants, building confidence and developing new skills with authentic, current, real-world multimedia content. 

Our platform lets you stay in control with extensive live reporting and progression tracking, designed around learners and internal training teams alike. Whether it’s constructive, actionable feedback, engagement levels or completion rates, our platform provides the detailed reporting you need. We also assign a dedicated program manager to work alongside you. From program design and implementation, to resolving learners’ questions, they’ll always be on hand for support.  

For HR leaders seeking a training partner, we have seen these seven lessons create unique and highly effective learning experiences, and we’d like to help you unlock the potential of your employees. If you’d like to learn more about our services and the way that we implement engaging learning experiences, reach out to us today. 

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Take your business on the first step to transformative learning today. We look forward to being part of your journey.