Coaching that keeps up with change
From humble beginnings in a tiny New York City kitchen, the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) has grown into the world’s largest and best-known nutrition and health coaching school. Even with their innovative change and success, the IIN’s mission has remained the same: helping people improve their health and happiness.
The field of health and wellness has witnessed much transformation since IIN got its start three decades ago. The organization has worked hard to ensure its educational offerings evolve with that change and remain relevant and accessible to learners.
“When we first went online, we were using a collection of things,” says Nora McCaffrey, chief academic officer at IIN. Pre-recorded content was shipped with physical workbooks, and an online portal to review additional resources. There was a connection to online learning, but with multiple platforms “it was disconnected, and it also didn’t allow us to see what the overall user journey was going to look like. It also wasn’t scalable,” McCaffrey continues.
That desire to always meet learners’ needs has led IIN to try many different learning management systems (LMS) over the years—including, most recently, a blend of a custom-made student information system, an enterprise LMS platform, and a range of auxiliary open-source solutions.
“This approach worked well for some time,” McCaffrey explains. “But with the astronomical changes that education has experienced, we saw that our existing systems weren’t enough to drive the transformation and growth that we needed.
“That realization pushed us to think about how our technology works for us, and how we could adapt and improve over time—with the ultimate goal of providing a truly world-class learner experience.”
Embracing a new approach to learning
IIN chose Brightspace to help it steer its learning management strategy in a new direction. As a first step, the organization took a fresh look at the learner journey, mapping how students moved through its coaching programs and how they engaged with teachers, content and other learners. This provided the roadmap for a full-scale transformation of the entire learning experience.
“As we worked to introduce the new LMS,” says McCaffrey, “we had a macro group guiding the overall process, and subgroups ensuring that the changes went according to plan. We also ran training sessions to make sure everyone knew how our programs were changing and how to use the new system successfully.”
In lockstep with this wider transformation, IIN has made major enhancements to the Health Coach Training Program, its flagship course. That includes a fresh look-and-feel, an improved table of contents, new instructional design and more interactive elements. The organization has also unveiled a brand-new mobile app, so learners can access educational content anytime, from anywhere.
“We’re feeling really proud of the updated program that we’ve put forward,” says McCaffrey. “We know that we’ve done the proper research and analysis to determine exactly which elements should be there and what the user experience is like. What’s more, with D2L Brightspace, it’s easy for us to iterate on this foundation, so that the program gets even better over time.”
New experience, new insights
It’s still early days for the new LMS, but IIN has already made great strides to improve the quality of its course content and the overall user experience. And that’s already translating into higher engagement and satisfaction among learners.
“We’ve put a lot of effort into evolving our core coaching program, updating the content and shaping a more seamless experience overall,” says McCaffrey. “We’ve seen much more interest from learners, and they are responding really well to the changes. Something that we’ve received particularly positive feedback on is our science spotlights, where we’ve used D2L’s interactive assessment tools as a way to demonstrate the science and evidence behind certain nutrition and wellness theories.”
With all-new analytics capabilities, IIN has a direct window into how users are engaging with courses and individual content, allowing teams to make better-informed decisions and shape a better learning experience.
“Brightspace gives us more clarity around our data, so we’re able to see what’s actually working, what isn’t, and where we can most effectively make enhancements,” says McCaffrey. “That data is driving a lot of decisions, which we’re very excited about.
“We also know that what we’ve put out there is landing well. Our learners love it, and it’s much better than what most of our competitors are doing. Brightspace is definitely helping us to take our learning experience to that next level, so we can inspire even more people to lead happier, healthier lives.”