Benefits of combining interactive journaling with virtual education

Published on by Lisa Gates.

(This is a repost from Craving Balance.)

This ain't your mother's e-course baby!

We've got the e-course thing down. You sign up for a course and your inbox fills with content. After the first few deliveries your enthusiasm begins to wane and your attention wanders to the next problem-solving idea.

We've also got the webinar thing down. A talking head or two delivers material like a human buzz saw while we check email, change diapers and drive in traffic.

And we've got the social/networking community thing down. We join a professional online group, upload our photos and noodle our profiles, post a few forum comments and read some blog posts, and two months/six months later, we wonder where we put the login and password.

Interactive Learning Environments (like Teaching Sells and Partnering for Profits) take things a step further by capturing a group of willing learners and providing content and resources in multiple learning formats. Written material is supported by audio, visual and presentation tools, as well as forums to connect with other participants, teleseminars, etc. It's a beautiful model for learning.

The missing piece

What coaches, teachers, trainers, consultants and specialists are missing and need most in their digital offerings is a way to connect people to themselves, other participants, and make their learning practical, specific to individual needs and private (no Google juice please). That's where interactive journaling is making such an impact.

Interactive journaling

Abundant research proves the benefits of journaling--from self awareness to stress reduction to psychological clarity. And when journaling is combined with learning material delivered in multiple learning formats, absorption, retention and practical application accelerates dramatically.

James Pennebaker, a pioneer researcher at the University of Texas at Austin, believes the power of words changes the way people actually think and helps them create a coherent, congruent narrative that carves a path for new understanding.

In my coaching practice and course work with students at Balance University, I have noticed a dramatic shift in learning process--most notably the depth and speed at which people learn, grow and change. Quite simply, journaling creates momentum and stickiness.

Balance University Hosts She Negotiates

When we launched Balance University 8 months ago, we started with free basic membership (it is still free to join) and offered weekly journaling prompts to stimulate connection, community and self-inquiry. We soon added our premium signature course, Purpose Changes Everything. From there we added a few self-guided courses, plus She Negotiates, a month-long course that gives women the tools, support and practice in negotiation, and now have several other courses in the pipeline.

Every offering includes journaling, but it's not a one-way conversation. All learning content includes questions and inquiries and homework with requests that participants journal on their progress and challenges. Coaches and teachers interact with clients and students and comment on every journal entry.

In every course, participants have been phenomenally grateful and complimentary about the process (read here and here). Here's a recent favorite from our last She Negotiates course:

"The She Negotiates team of Victoria Pynchon and Lisa Gates triggered a personal catharsis for me as a businesswoman. Their interactive course gave me the tool and techniques to catapult my confidence and transform my negotiation skills. It gave me the courage to be the master of my market value, resulting in bottom-line results within the first week of the course."  Judy Martin, broadcast journalist, speaker and work-life consultant

The Balance University runs on a journaling platform created by JournalEngine and masterminded by coach Kim Ades of Frame of Mind Coaching. If you coach, teach, consult or train, I encourage you to check it out.

P.S. Disclosure: I am a huge fan of the fabulous team behind JournalEngine, and an affiliate.

Education and Learning Journaling, She Negotiates, craving balance, interactive learning environment, virtual learning

Published on by Lisa Gates.