Lockdown underscores vital role of virtual training

Virtual classrooms are here to stay. So says Juliette Fourie, founder and CEO of Metro Minds, who believes that accelerated learning programmes like simulations and virtual classrooms provide massive opportunity for the training sector.

“We can reach so many more people and have a huge target-focused approach. Skills analysis, career coaching, and training according to purpose – not compliance,” she says. “The focus on innovation is extremely important. The opportunities are endless when you change your thinking and leadership vision to an innovating, integrated approach.” The company, recently awarded second place in the SA Innovation League of 2019/2020, has invested significantly into virtual classes, professional videos and more online and digital learning platforms and simulation activities in recent months. “Given the past few months’ disruptions due to Covid-19 and lockdown, this made practical sense,” says Fourie, who is also a big supporter of the power of emotional intelligence.

“Understanding habits, behaviour and personalities is an important aspect of the learning environment and we are investing more and more into these profiling tools prior to learning taking place. The next step is the launch of the Metro Minds Mentoring Hub where students, managers and any person invested in their self development can join for career coaching, business mentoring and health and wellness coaching. Having a meaningful life starts with having positive and healthy relationships, a satisfactory career, a well-balanced and loving household, and a healthy body and mind. It doesn’t matter which industry. Our learning programmes have evolved into more than just ‘soft’ skills and technical skills,” she says. “The launch of eMinds lite is also a very exciting product. Aimed at development in all spheres of a career, its powerful online programmes are reasonably priced. This links into our webinars where we are introducing these topics.”

According to Fourie, while the trend is to move training online there is still a need for contact learning and coaching sessions. It is often dependent on the sector. “Sales programmes, for example, require more field coaching as does management training where there are more in-depth leadership case studies and practical methodologies to handle.” She says the challenges in the training sector are connectivity and funding. “Not everyone has the equipment and data connectivity tools to attend virtual classes and online interventions. Due to this, we decided to provide each new registered learner on our 12-month courses with a tablet loaded with data for the year.”

Her overall outlook, however, is extremely positive. “We are forever changed by what we have experienced in lockdown and with Covid-19 in the past few months. We work smarter, we are more productive, we live different lives, we learn differently, we innovate more, and we are able to customise almost everything.”

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