Guest author: Bhaskar Natarajan, Head, Programme Execution, Tata STRIVE
The role of learner motivation in the entire process of learning is well-known and is constantly given the due attention. But what is often overlooked is the importance of trainer motivation and consistent performance. Only motivated trainers can trigger the learners’ curiosity to learn and improve continuously.
From the time when trainers juggled between training, answering learner’s queries and checking on their understanding to instantaneously shifting to actions like sharing the screen, checking their attendance and attention, replying to messages on chat and now shuffling with settings of video and microphone all along while continuing the training process, it has indeed been a challenging ride for the trainers.
When we look at the entire skilling ecosystem, it is the trainers who stand as pillars on whom the training structure is built on. During the COVID-19 pandemic, trainers have invested more time and resources to adapt to the changes and faced the challenges of keeping the learners’ engagement intact in the times of online learning and teaching.
Digital Superstars program by Tata STRIVE
With disruption of COVID-19 pandemic and the consequential lockdown, we majorly talked about the preparedness of the learners for remote and digital education, lack of or insufficient infrastructure to cope with the changes and so on. But we often forget about the preparedness of the trainers who are the catalysts of the change.
Acknowledging this fact, Tata STRIVE in partnership with National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) has recently launched a program exclusively for trainers called Digital Superstars. It is a self-paced learning course for upskilling and equipping existing trainers with training delivery skills in the online medium.
Creativity and resilience are the skills needed to meet the challenges of current times. Digital Superstars program by Tata STRIVE prepares the trainer community to embrace the evolved normal and in making online sessions effective and engaging by inspiring them to be creative.
The need to be Digital Superstars
With the blended learning model in place across training institutions, trainers face the challenge of creating an immersive experience for the learners who are located remotely across the country. In the Digital Superstars program, trainers will get to learn, how to create an engaging environment for the student through activity-based and question-based approach of learning. This inquiry-based learning is not only personally transforming for the trainers but also for the learner. Also, the program emphasizes on the three E’s in the classroom.
The three E’s that are necessary in the classroom:
- Engage the learner
- Educate the learner
- Entertain the learner
Without losing the focus on the content and goal of the program, these three E’s are important in a classroom to keep the learners coming back to attend the classes.
Focus on holistic development of a trainer
Earlier, one of the key focus areas of skill development was training infrastructure. However, in the post-pandemic scenario it has become digital infrastructure. With classes being shifted to video platforms, assignment and task submissions moving online, it becomes requisite for trainers to understand the digital technologies well. Trainers need to know the technology they are using, either the video platform or the LMS (Learning Management System), they must be able to track the attendance of the students and also know how to track the asynchronous completion of tasks.
I would like to share an analogy that often share with the learners in the context of active online participation. If you go to gym every day, sit on a ‘chair’ and ‘do nothing’, ‘only observe what others are doing’, at your favorite corner for an hour and go home, will you achieve your fitness goals? Will your weight reduce? No! Then, after a month of such behavior, please don’t question the gym trainer, that you’ve not got any benefit after regularly ‘attending’ gym!
Similarly, if you come to class every day and do not switch on your video, unmute and speak/engage/participate in the class, then one cannot ask your facilitator for a job. As without engaging or participating in the class, one cannot become employable.
When it comes to trainers, by helping them understand the digital tools and technologies, we will encourage them to be Digital Superstars. This knowledge is in addition to the domain knowledge that they have along with soft skills training they undergo. The holistic development of trainers is done focusing on three key areas.
Also read: Why agility and forward-looking outlook are critical to scale and sustain skill development? Read more: https://www.nationalskillsnetwork.in/why-agility-and-forward-looking-outlook-are-critical-to-scale-and-sustain-skill-development/
Three key areas of focus under the program:
- Mindset: All the trainers who take up this Digital Superstars program are helped with the right mindset. Various analogies are shared with them along with constant motivation to deliver better.
- Skillset: There is a constant need to sharpen one’s skillset by upskilling and reskilling. By soliciting feedback, there is always a scope to improve and become better.
- Toolset: Trainers will get to learn more about the tools they would be using. For example, the audio and video tools. And also, to keep adding more skills and tools to one’s tool kit.
Tata STRIVE’s Digital Superstar program is also available on NSDC’s digital learning portal eSkillIndia – https://eskillindia.org/. Trainers across the country can make the most from the program and equip themselves with latest digital skills to keep oneself updated and upskilled as per the changing requirements of the world. This will not only benefit the trainers themselves, but also motivate the students to be more efficient and eventually make them employable, where the real strength of the trainer lies.