Experienced Managing Partner with a demonstrated history of working in the professional training & coaching industry. Skilled in Negotiation, Talent Management, Business Planning, HR Consulting, and Coaching. Strong business development professional graduated from Universitatea de Vest in Timisoara, BR talked with Delia Dragomir, co-founder of Eucom Business Language, and found more about the company’s strategy, Agile Learning, their Courses Without Walls and about being an entrepreneur in Romania nowadays and the challenges it brings this status.
By Romanita Oprea
Eucom Business Language was launched in 2002 in order to answer companies’ needs and challenges of integrating in a global business environment and become one of the most important foreign languages’ providers in Romania.
You implemented Courses Without Walls. Why did you consider at that time that playing was important while learning?
Because, if you learn by play, information is assimilated differently, as you learn for pleasure and not out of obligation, because we have come from the Romanian school, where we were taught to cram, everything to be very serious, because people, our learners, work day by day and they also need a moment of pleasure, in which to feel that they are doing something useful for them, but they also feel good at the same time. It is a time when they understand that learning can be a pleasure.
Where did you get the inspiration for that?
From my own experience, always thinking about how I would like to learn, I later studied the concept, as well, tested it and saw many benefits.
Learning is an experience today and that was the idea behind our decision to implement Courses Without Walls. This type of learning provides a retention rate of 90 percent of knowledge and skills, compared to a retention rate of 5 percent produced by traditional methods.
A learning experience takes you out of office and out of closed study environments and propagates you directly in the middle of a context that helps you to truly live abstract concepts. It’s like a flight simulator for pilots. You use real-life examples to understand thoroughly and to practically apply business concepts such as teamwork or innovation.
One of the most popular models of experiential learning is the one developed by David. A Kolb. His theory is based on two pillars: the learning cycle and the learning style. Effective learning is deemed to be real when a person goes through all four stages of the learning cycle: Experience itself, Reflection / Discussion, Conceptualization and Application.
What were the first important results you got after implementing it and how did the situation evolve in time?
It was seen in the feedback of students and in the lasting partnerships that we have developed. The client called us to tell us that we contributed to the well-being and happiness of his colleagues, that people began to apply in their daily activities what they learn in class, so the results were visible in the daily activities of each student.
We only offer B2B courses, so the teams that come to the course increase their cohesion when they collaborate to find solutions to real situations. Working with colleagues, they better connect to the culture of the company in which they work.
Due to the fact that the adult learns in the context of his own experience and personal goals, he / she has the opportunity to immediately identify relevant insights about himself / herself.
Moreover, experiential learning allows adults to connect to their own emotions. Human mind is programmed to remember the emotions and experiences associated to them, which means that the benefits of this type of learning shall be felt long after the training is over.
Do you believe that the actual Romanian way of learning is too rigid and technical?
We tend to look at the educational act with great pressure and seriousness. It has to be serious, but it also needs a purpose, and the way it is done could be a more relaxing and a more playful one. Since I have had children, I can see how they learn very well by play, how what they learned in / from play they assimilated much faster and it is lasting, it has been fixed very well. I have noticed in them how close they are and how many things they know in subjects where the teacher teaches them out of passion, where he also brings elements of play and fun. It takes discipline, consistency, a daily ritual in the learning process, and not only, but, if you allow yourself to play with the modality, with the way to achieve the goals, then results shall certainly be seen.
You said that the budgets the clients are investing now are bigger than some years ago. Why is this happening? Are they choosing different types of courses?
Now, in the pandemic, bigger budgets are no longer applied…, but what I noticed is a greater streamline of budgets and a greater orientation towards results. If, before, these courses were offered as a benefit, now they are offered much more carefully, and with a focus on results. The people who participate are carefully selected and their progress is constantly monitored.
A study performed by Delloite shows that successful organizations are the ones that can pivot and learn quickly, helping people adapt to new ways of working. These are also the principles underlying “agility” – an approach that has a positive impact on learning and which we have pivoted ever since 2018.
Although our Agile Learning platform was inaugurated in 2018, it was only in October 2019 that we officially launched it, and now, in 2020, we hope it shall come on the market with statistics that prove its true potential and confirm the positive results it brings in the learning segment.
Digital learning is a scenario that allows us to fight against myths promoted and rooted in classical learning. In this regard, we have noticed that the degree of learning has increased by up to 65 percent, proving that we can be even more efficient if we work properly. Thus, taking advantage of the digital environment we already had, but to which not all companies are still adapted, we add an innovative methodology, good habits and tools, thus transforming the current situation into a clear way to increase our productivity and to continue learning, no matter what. #LearningMustGoON
I have recently read in a World Economic Forum article that, in the new digital world, in terms of #skillsforthefuture, efficiency shall still be very important, but top priority is agility. And, in terms of learning, we emphasize the idea that not only the adoption of new systems for assimilating information is relevant, but also an unlearning of traditional methods of working and structuring our daily routine.
What should a possible client know about you and why?
A potential client should know about us that we are concerned to understand their needs, objectives and way of working, so that we can customize their programs. We are interested and we have always been concerned with delivering programs suitable to each client and tailored to their reality. We have always been concerned with the combination of human interaction and technology, we are oriented towards creating experiences and providing experiential learning programs. And last, but not least, we like to measure the results we offer so that the client always knows what he is investing in.
Who is your competition and what do you offer differently?
Our competitors are focused on several audiences: children, adults, B2C and B2B, and work a lot on imposed methods. We are specialized only in the B2B segment, we know very well the corporate market in Romania, because we have been part of it for 18 years, and we have learned very well what its needs are and how to meet them. For us, every client is a partner with whom we build every day.
What represents for you being an entrepreneur in Romania?
Over the years, we have developed many skills, we have tested a lot, we have also malfunctioned, there have been many lessons from which we have learned. It’s a lifestyle. I don’t even know what a different life is like. It represents an adaptation and a re-adaptation, a constant reconfiguration of route, a constant movement, because things change quickly.
For example, in 2008, I decided to move the business entirely to Bucharest, fed up with the long and frequent journeys made by train between Timisoara and Bucharest. Decisions were made in Bucharest, following face-to-face meetings. And here I see a first parallel between the two crises, meaning that, nowadays, decisions can be made by phone and online, so we started to break the barrier of distance and, thus, make the activity very efficient.
2020 has found us with a pool of 500 people involved in the new concept of AGILE Learning, which is a mix between digital, e-learning platform and human interaction. A concept that we launched in April 2019. So, we had a year to improve it based on feedbacks and results received.
2020 finds us with a prepared and cohesive team. Now, we have seen very clearly the results of courses and of training process we have had all these years, and the idea of #LearningMustGoOn has strengthened us even more.
What are the main challenges and how do you surpass them?
A big challenge was the orientation and creation of interactive programs and the receptivity of market to them. People were used to things going on at school, and, so, it was a challenge to prove them that you can have results and feel good at the same time. Even in the team, we hit on these concepts and on adapting to them and implementing them. Until they were once tested, reactions and results were seen, after which they became more and more used.