As companies explore the role of artificial intelligence (AI), the metaverse and other new technologies in the training landscape, we must never lose sight of the human beings we are trying to reach. After observing and leading training programs for hundreds of thousands of learners over the past two decades, one clear trend has emerged: Whether the training delivery method features virtual or in-person instruction, blended learning, microlearning or gamification, human relationships are what consistently and dramatically improve learning outcomes.

Here are five ways to unlock more human potential by ensuring training focuses on connection.

1. Leverage Coaching to Build Confidence

Research shows that connecting employees with a coach who can offer support in their roles improves those employees’ overall well-being, confidence and engagement. Coaches can help struggling learners build confidence and course correct. This connection can occur on a call, over email or in person, and it can be one-on-one or in a group. A coach’s belief in a learner’s ability to succeed is infectious. Coaching is effective when it elevates a person’s perspective, enables them to regain confidence, helps them focus on next steps and leads them to take action.

2. Personalize Communication and Send It Right on Time

The ability to supply relevant insights, such as individual performance data, right on time can help coaches make meaningful connections with learners. These touch points empower learners with information about whether they are on track or falling short and what they need to do next. The “how are you doing?” check-in and targeted feedback help guide learners and reinforce the feeling of connection, since learners know someone is looking at their progress, and making sure they have what they need to succeed. They are reassured that they will not fall through the cracks.

3. Drive Engagement With Co-Teaching

The co-teaching model, in which organizations use two training facilitators, puts connection and collaboration on display as the instructors’ banter can help learners relax so that they are more open to taking in new information. Watching human connection can pull learners in and keep them engaged, especially if there is humor. This model can have a positive pedagogical impact by providing learners with more than one viewpoint or explanation for a new concept. The conversation between the co-teachers can bring the concepts to life and reinforce the relevance to the learner. Co-teaching has proven to be especially effective at ensuring that learners who are struggling can be spotted and supported.

4. Build a Sense of Community to Facilitate Learning

Whether it is an onboarding experience, learning a new skill or training for a licensing exam, cohort-based learning helps the group persevere in the face of challenges. One of the key benefits of this approach is the sense of community that develops. Members of the cohort feel motivated to keep up with the group. In addition, they can collaborate and learn from one another. This model of learning acknowledges that by forming a community based on common goals and sharing an educational experience, learners perform better.

5. Connect Learners With Their Goals

Connecting learners with their “why,” the larger reason they are learning a new skill or studying new material, reminds them of the powerful reasons they want to keep at it, even when they hit speed bumps. Many people learning a new skill want more than a new job or a better job. They often want to be able to provide for themselves or their family, or even prove to themselves they are capable of more. Feeling connected to one’s larger sense of purpose is a powerful driver of human performance.

As technology continues to make upskilling and reskilling a critical part of doing business, it is essential to remember that at the heart of the most successful training strategies is an approach that leverages human connection. One size does not fit all when it comes to learning. In fact, learners perform better when they feel seen, heard and that they belong.