What We’re Finding Out About the Virtual Learning Space

As we have been doing more and more programs online, we’ve been learning that there is value in both online and in-person programs. The virtual space is bringing some unexpected gifts to our teaching that is actually deepening the experience of our students in ways that have been surprising and enlivening. There is a particular level of intimacy that arises as you connect to the class directly from your own environment, from your own world, and bring the teaching directly into your space. There is a personal aspect to the experience that it is hard to replicate when we are all together in the classroom.

In addition, we are using technology to support our virtual learning environments that are increasing the impact of our method as students engage in different ways. This is not to say that online can replace in person learning, but it can certainly expand it and deepen it, as it already has in programs we are delivering around the world.

I actually believe that the upcoming cohort of the Professional Coaching Course, beginning in June with a virtual Session One, will provide a unique and expanded experience of learning that will prepare our coaches for the future of coaching better than ever before.

As the world has moved into an online environment in the past month, coaches have had to adjust their practices to respond to the needs of their clients right where they are. We can feel the world shifting as people are shifting, and I believe that more services online will be asked for in the future of coaching.

Like most people considering taking up such a deep training in a virtual format, I was skeptical at first, but the feedback that we have been getting from our students as they have been doing 4-day classes with us is that it is not only doable, but enriching and engaging. We are adjusting the pedagogy of our classes to make them highly participatory and dynamic, using different resources and techniques for learning. By the time the June cohort begins, our faculty will be bringing learnings and feedback from well over 200 hours of online teaching, including six virtual sessions of the PCC.

On a personal note, I was signed up for an 8-day in-person program just before the stay-at-home order went into effect that was quickly shifted online. I felt sad when I received the announcement that it was going to be delivered by Zoom. After I started engaging in the class, I actually loved it. It felt as if the teachers and the teaching were coming personally into my home. Because of this, I was able to integrate what I learned immediately into my life, as there was no separation between my life and the teaching. This is my deepest hope for every student who comes through New Ventures West. I feel hopeful that doing our first session in June virtually will bring a similar benefit as it did to me to engage in that class.

Cynthia is a Professional Coaching Course leader and Managing Partner at New Ventures West.