Exclusive Interview of Kalina Trajanoska of Coach Microlearning. Edited by Powered Magazine
In this exclusive interview with Powered Magazine, we explore Kalina's journey from a passion for education and technology to becoming a trailblazing leader in the field of corporate learning. Her innovative solutions have been instrumental in helping organizations deliver effective training that aligns with the ever-changing demands of the modern workplace.
Tell us about yourself and your business.
I am the founder of Coach Microlearning - an innovative tool for internal corporate training that finds and fixes the gaps in employees' knowledge in just 3-5 minutes a day. It’s similar to the popular language learning app Duolingo, but used for workplace training.
As employees interact with the learning games, the coach pinpoints areas for improvement from incorrect answers and suggests micro-lessons. The app incorporates motivational features like achievements and personalised refreshers to enable employees to master every aspect of their training in record time and prevent expensive mistakes.
Today, Coach brings value to many international corporations that use it for sales, safety and product training, onboarding, and more. My background is in software engineering and graphic design, but my passion has always been education and learning.
What were your biggest challenges when starting your business?
Starting any business is challenging in and of itself, but launching a startup where you build a product from scratch is another beast! Previously, my co-founder and I were working on a project-based model with international clients, so we were used to the simple business model of outsourcing.
But, when we detected the gap in the market for a solution like Coach, it was truly a challenge to decide to take the leap and start investing in building the product. Your belief has to be strong if you are to intentionally cut down your revenue stream and essentially be in the negative each month on purpose while you’re bringing your idea to life.
How have you handled success and failure over the course of your career?
Building a startup is akin to a rollercoaster ride, so believe me when I say that there are many ups and downs. It takes courage, determination, wit, and adaptability to be able to remotely succeed.
The best way to think of failure as to take it as a lesson. Many people say that, but I'm not sure how many actually practice it. It means to write down and reflect on the cause, what could be done differently and what has been learned from it. And do it religiously! In the end, I strongly believe the road to success is paved with failures.
What strategies do you use to stay competitive in a changing market?
Whether we like it or not, AI is here, and it's here to stay. We have to be open to the changing landscape of technology if we are to survive as a business in the next century. But the businesses that win not only reluctantly adapt to the new technologies; they innovate with them and lead the way. That's why we're building our AI-powered training generator, which converts existing Word materials into ready-to-use Coach training modules in 2 minutes! My advice is: don't ignore AI; find a way to benefit from it!
What motivations drive you to keep pushing forward in the face of adversity?
Doing something that hasn't been done before! I come from a small, developing country, and inadvertently, on a global scale, that makes me an underdog. I'm driven by the thought that my team and I could be the first global success story from my country, Macedonia. Just because it hasn't been done before doesn't make it impossible! The next generation deserves to see that even the underdogs can win.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out in their chosen field?
Keep learning, keep practicing even if it's bad at the beginning - it's the only way forward. The three most important traits to work on when starting something new are:
1) curiosity / passion 2) perseverance 3) ability to learn independently
How have technological advances affected the way you conduct business or operate your venture?
The biggest technological leap in modern times that affects most businesses is the AI revolution.
Not only are we developing new, unique features powered by AI, but we're leveraging AI tools in many aspects of running the business: copywriting, sales, data analytics, and more. We're encouraging our teammates to explore new ways of doing things since if you're set in your ways, you're missing out and at risk of disruption.
In what ways has customer feedback or response influenced how you prioritise goals or objectives for your business or venture?
Our roadmap for future development is fluid, and we're continuously adding client requests to it. We've enabled many opportunities where either the users of the app or the managers using the admin panel can leave feedback, feature suggestions, bug reports, or any comments they might have. In the end, Coach is meant to bring value to them, so if their needs are changing and evolving, so should the product accordingly. If you're not keen on implementing customer feedback and requests, be aware you're risking a churn increase!
What trends do you see emerging in your industry that are likely to shape its future growth and development?
I foresee 4 trends being crucial in the future of corporate training: upskilling and reskilling.
Personalization & Adaptive Learning: Personalized training, adapted to the current knowledge level of each employee is the future. It ensures everyone gets what they need, making learning more efficient, effective and worthwhile.
Microlearning: Let's face it, we're all busy. Microlearning gives quick, bite-sized lessons that fit into any schedule. It's flexible, fast, and makes sense in our always-on world.
Spaced Repetition: Ever forget something you just learned? Spaced repetition helps by revisiting info over time. It's like a brain workout, making sure knowledge sticks around for the long haul.
Gamification: Who doesn't love a good game? Gamification makes learning fun and engaging. It's not just about points or badges; it's about making training something employees want to do.
With Coach, we combine all of these 4 trends in a unique learning experience guaranteed to boost performance.
We’re seeing these trends in different successful products already, such as Duolingo, Kahoot and TikTok and it’s just the beginning.
What have been the most rewarding and difficult aspects of your chosen career or business path?
The most rewarding is definitely the stories of happy clients! To know that what you’ve made brings value is the goal of every founder. It makes it all worthwhile.
There are many difficult aspects – wearing every hat in the company, establishing healthy work-life balance and deciding the direction the whole ship is set to sail to. The responsibility isn’t small at all, but as other founders already know – diamonds are built under pressure!
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers that we haven’t already discussed?
Studies show that 70% of newly acquired knowledge during training sessions gets forgotten in 2 weeks! That’s a huge loss for the companies investing into training their employees.
If you’ve experienced this either as a L&D, HR or Sales manager / director I invite you to find me on LinkedIn and drop me a message. There is a cure for the forgetting curve, but only if you take action!