Attitude changes everything – ”No pain, no gain”

Especially when innovating new online training concept in close collaboration with the trainer.

Forces impacting on training business

Digitalization is taking the education sector by storm. Schools and companies need to adapt to changing learning habits. Solutions that intelligently combine the best of classroom features with online learning benefits are gaining ground.

Digitalization, artificial intelligence, learning analytics and everyday devices such as mobile phones are now not only examples of powerful tools for effective learning, but also enabling the paradigm shift in the training business in general.

As the traditional education sector increasingly incorporates online learning into their programs, it is important to understand the benefits that may accrue to the faculty who teach in those programs, particularly those that influence trainers continuing participation in face-to-face teaching. All this will have a significant impact on today´s and especially tomorrow´s educators and trainers who may be even too familiar with traditional onsite based classroom trainings.

Be prepared to fail and you will learn

Failing is not dangerous, but willingness not to learn on-the-go is. In this new era of training and learning, there are no best practices available to follow. Most of the current and existing training and learning methods are based on glorious legacy. Please notice that there is nothing wrong in the way we have done it in the past – it is the surrounding world with giant leap in technology that enables us to achieve so much more than we have even dreamt of earlier.

The wisdom is how to utilize and capitalize on these for the good of the trainers and the learners. At MIF Academy we were brave and took the initiative to step into the great unknown in genuine and close collaboration with one of our long-standing trainer, Mr. Juha Merinen (Founder and CEO of SMART Internationalization Oy). Juha has an extensive hands-on experience in international business in addition to being MIF Academy trainer in various training programs.

What were the very first steps in our still on-going learning process

At the beginning of 2019 we started a project to innovate new online training concept including relevant process and methods for it. MIF Academy selected Juha to be the trainer to be coached into our new world of online training.  Project started with very down to earth and concrete step-by-step planning sessions. In these several co-creation planning meetings we concentrated f ex. on the requirements of the training materials. At the same time we studied how to utilize a next generation online learning platform – in the very best way for these upcoming online trainings.

One of the key findings already in the very beginning was that the traditional training material used in the onsite classroom trainings will not work as they are. So, Juha started to create new material in addition to modifying his classroom training material more suitable for online learning. One of the challenges for Juha was to analyze, plan and decide the level of the material. How easy or challenging the material, exercises and supporting material.

Besides the material it was of utmost importance that parties worked actively together towards the mutual goal – very honestly and openly. We see our co-operation with Juha as a genuine partnership – which is always based on trust and confidence between the parties. We made some mistakes together and we learned a lot together. To summarize our first joint learnings; the only place where success comes before work is the dictionary.

Pilot online course (Leading the International Growth and Market Expansion in Nepal at Open University of Nepal)

Co-operation between MIF Academy and Nepal Open University started with a training program powered by Fintra, Finnish business school for international trade utilizing the online learning platform. The piloting of Juha’s new course was taken place in Nepal under the coordination of the Faculty of Management and Law, Nepal Open University Nepal. The whole process from the designing of the course, preparations, production of the training material (including exercises etc.) and the actual leading of the 5 weeks training program for Juha was truly once in a lifetime learning experience. Juha´s own view of his role in this Nepal training is crystal clear:

“My role was really to act as a facilitator, moderator, activator and the stimulator for the learner students. The training was quite demanding in several ways; students (including NOU professors) were highly competent and skilled already so evaluating all the students exercises during the 5 weeks program required very deep involvement in making it very professionally. It was again more than important to keep in mind the cultural differences – in Nepal case to understand how teaching and learning normally is conducted in the Nepalese schooling system.”

What was the customer’s experience?

The feedback from Open University of Nepal was following: The participants got lots of knowledge. They also got ideas of planning a course even using newspapers ‘ information and other information to make a better understanding of the international market and market expansion. They also learned online pedagogy and use of the learning management system. Changes occurred also in trainer’s reflection, course planning, student learning activities, and use of class time.

World-class collaboration leads into a good customer experience and finally great and measurable learning outcomes

After 5 weeks training and having successfully completed this training, it was an experience that we all participants (Juha, MIF Academy and NOU) received highly valuable information which we can built-on in our further joint development work and next steps. The experience of teaching online and its impacts on faculty innovation across delivery methods were encouraging. We got more people join our team and through this joint experience we received even more valuable information how to model the “train-the-trainer” concept within MIF Academy. We are now in a much better position to build a talent management community services to support our long-term training services development.

We believe that online training is our special strength – if not even a “superpower” and we are able offer comprehensive services and following benefits can be seen easily. Trainers become increasingly focused on the student learning process and become familiar with the new technologies and become aware of their own future potential. The boundary between in-class and out-of-class activities has already started to weaken.

“Until you try, you don’t know what you can’t do”.
Henry James