Can Online Courses on Emotional Intelligence and People Skills​ Really Work?

Virtual Learning Meets Activity-Based Learning

Think for a moment about what makes your projects successful. No matter how process driven you are and what processes you have in place, almost everyone I ask tell me it’s the people and their ability to work with others, create trust, and communicate effectively that make projects successful. I have been teaching emotional intelligence and the critical people skills to the construction industry for the past 17 years. When I have live learning events, it is highly experiential and uses storytelling, gamification, applied improvisation, and hands on learning. When online learning first came out, I dismissed it because I thought it would be impossible to teach these people skills in an online format.

I was wrong. I think I was also a bit lazy. With a little creativity and the right online learning platform, very little is lost when transitioning from a live, classroom setting to an online setting. There are some lessons learned that are outlined below:

Online learning and live learning are different. You must take into account the differences and be sure to modify accordingly. You can’t set a camera up in the back of a classroom and expect learners to sit and watch a video of someone teaching. Or worse, expect your learners to sit and listen to someone reading Power Point slides.

No videos over 4 to 5 minutes. When learners see that 25-minute video, they automatically click forward. Most of our videos are in the 2-3 minute range.

Mix it up. Use all the learning styles and mix them up throughout the course. Use audio, video, hands on exercises, review exercises, and articles, tests, and books and other resources to read and experience throughout the learning process.

You must have quizzes to test for comprehension and a Learning Management System to check progress for every learner. Then, you can pair folks who are excelling with folks who are falling behind. Create accountability partners to help each other stay on track.

Have the learners create development plans and refer the learning points in the courses back to those plans and the application of the learning. Build in as much accountability as possible and finding ways to apply the learning are keys to success. That way, your learners are working toward specific goals with specific plans and the courses support that journey. They are continually applying the learning and creating those changes.

Don’t rely on online learning alone. If you tell your employees to go and do an online course, the compliance will likely be low. You must follow up, get them in a room together and discuss how they applied the learning. If you can’t get everyone together, do a virtual check in session. We have virtual check in session weekly and an optional train the trainer session so this can be done in house.

Customize the learning to fit your company’s or organization’s culture. We also offer this as a service. Customization is easy and can be done prior to launching your online learning solution.

Be sure that your online learning platforms follow these rules, especially if you are working on the people stuff. If you want more information on our Total Leadership Library courses on emotional intelligence and the critical “people” skills to make your projects more successful, contact Global eTraining.