Training today’s workforce is as challenging as ever. One-size-fits-all has been replaced with customized programs that meet many different needs. Blended learning helps trainers meet changing needs of both employees and the organization.
What is Blended Learning? Blended learning incorporates two or more different types of learning, such as eLearning, virtual instructor-led training, self-paced learning, and classroom training.
There are many benefits to a blended learning approach.
- It is very cost-effective.
- It offers flexibility to learners and gives them more control over their learning experience.
- It can free up your training staff to work on other projects.
- It can also improve the acquisition and retention of knowledge.
Let’s look at an example involving software training for new users.
Scenario One – Company X needs to train new employees on their proprietary software. Typically, the company brings them together at the corporate office to train in a classroom for a week. Sometimes this requires waiting until there are enough new hires to justify conducting an on-site session. An instructor shares as much information as possible during that time. Afterwards, the learners go back to work and try to remember what they learned in training. There is a test environment for the software that allows users to practice what they’ve learned, but few users have time to do this.
Now let’s look at this example using a blended learning approach.
Scenario Two – Company Y’s new employees begin training right away via several eLearning modules that introduce them to the software and take them through the steps in their process. Several of the modules are customized to address variances in the user’s roles. The modules are organized into stages based on complexity. Each stage of the process includes one or more live, virtual sessions where users can ask questions and interact with instructors and subject matter experts. Learners can retake any module at any time.
The blended learning program also incorporates a self-paced component and users have workbooks with exercises customized to their roles. They use the software’s test environment to complete the exercises.
When we compare the two scenarios the benefits of the blended learning approach become clear. You may be wondering how you might incorporate a blended approach in your own organization. Here are a few things to consider:
- How many employees do you need to train at one time?
- How often do you conduct training?
- What post-training resources are currently available to your learners to help ensure knowledge retention?
Successfully training employees in today’s environment has its challenges! Blended learning is a strategic way to meet the divergent needs of employees and the organization.
Do you need to look at your training program to find ways to better deliver blended learning? Let Orgwide know how we can help!
Author: Deidra Phillips, Manager, Instructional Design and Development – Orgwide Custom Learning Solutions