Though traditionally, classroom-based instructor-led trainings have been the chosen route for corporate learning, the limitations of only classroom approach are now becoming increasingly evident, especially in the modern technology-enhanced scenario.Learners do not have the time or inclination to always travel or convene for training sessions. They want trainings to be available as per their needs and requirements. Most organizations are spreading their wings and have to cater to the learning needs of a global workforce. In these situations, we have to make training available which makes sure that employees do not have to leave their desks or stop their regular work schedules. Newer technologies can bring learning opportunities to employees in the form of short videos, quick reference guides, and simulations. Classroom can still be utilized but the right mix of learning content can create interactive training programs that truly are effective and stay with the learners for a long time.
Blended learning combines the benefits of classroom training with technology-aided learning to cater to the emergent needs of modern learners. While classroom environment can be utilized for discussions and face-to-face interactions, other modes of content delivery can be employed to make sure all the learnings needs of learners are duly met.
Even for the most sceptical organizations, blended learning has some obvious benefits. It helps learner retain training better with the help of re-enforcements outside of the classroom. Blended learning helps get in touch with workforce which needs to travel for work and cannot attend regular classroom sessions. It also helps organizations reach an increasingly tech savvy employee base that expects learning to be available – anytime and anywhere.
Here are some tips to get your blended learning initiative started and stated for success:
Get The Trainers On Your Side: Instructors and trainers within the organization are integral to the success of a blended learning delivery. Though they are obviously more inclined to their preferred way of teaching in a classroom, if they are convinced of the benefits of blended learning – then getting the employees on board will be a piece of cake!
Undoubtedly, blended learning changes the trainers’ role into a facilitator. Some of them may be not comfortable to new technology at all and will have to learn new skills, such as e-learning development, LMS administration, and technical editing. It has to be made clear to them that this evolution of their role is not a curbing factor but a chance to move up with time. E-learning is taking the world by storm and corporate training cannot be untouched by it completely. The success of blended learning is spreading across entire learning and development industry and trainers can be a part of this change.
Illustrate Success To Get Maximum Support: Converting a traditional learning program into a technology-aided training is not a very easy task. It is best to choose a small group of learners, who are more inclined to accept new technology and start the blended program with them. Make sure to get their feedback and incorporate it into the program. With changes duly incorporated, run it past them again. Run assessments at the end of the program and share the success. This would the standing testimony that everyone would need and the final push for adopting blended learning on an organization-wide basis.
Create Innovative Content: The proof of the pudding is in its taste and success of any e-learning initiative is in the content. With a varied array of interesting content, it will be easy to convince learners to adopt new way of learning. Not all content development has to be very expensive. You can opt for free or affordable content until you build up your organization’s confidence in blended learning.
To start with, you can collaborate with trainers or other experts to convert classroom lectures into mini lecture on video that can be shared with the learners. Classroom presentations can also be converted into simple animated videos that can share information in an informal manner. Look for existing resources in your organization – supervisors, SMEs, and experienced employees, especially those seeking a promotion. Look for topics in your program that can be reinforced through coaching and one-on-one interactions. Reward those who teach others by making mentoring a line item on job performance reviews.
Finally, have patience. Success of blended learning might not come instantly, give it time. Introduce blended learning elements to learners and give them time to embrace it and become good at it. Give them time not just to become competent, but confident. With time and encouragement, the organization wide acceptance and further, the success of blended learning is not just a possibility but a surety.
Source and suggested further reading: Overcome Your Blended Learning Phobia