Why Blended Studying Methods Are A Coaching Supervisor’s Companion
Why blended learning strategies are a training manager’s best friend
As a training manager, your top priority is to find the best approach to training learners. Training? E-learning? Microlearning? Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT)? There are so many options to choose from. Every training format has something to offer. But don’t we all prefer an à la carte menu to a fixed menu? This is what blended learning strategies offer – a selection of training formats that you can choose from in order to design your training board individually and in an appealing way.
Blended learning – the quick way to eLearning
Is fast blended learning the best solution? Discover how blended learning can be used to meet corporate training needs and accommodate modern learning preferences.
What is blended learning?
Instructor-led training + online learning (synchronous and asynchronous) + performance support
What do different training formats bring with them?
To understand the benefits of blended learning, it is important to understand why some professionals swear by face-to-face training while others prefer self-paced training. It is also important to understand the online activity and offline activity for training that can be used in blended learning.
This training approach has been practiced for ages and is still the most popular method of in-company training. Much of its success is based on “human touch,” that is, our ability to decipher physical and verbal signals during an interaction – and to adjust them accordingly. But even without social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, face-to-face training cannot meet the expectations of modern learners such as learning at your own pace, just-in-time learning and distance learning. It does not afford the luxury of personalization, individual learning paths and anonymity.
Virtual teacher-led training (VILT)
In the simplest sense, VILT brings ‘the classroom experience to a virtual platform’, on which teachers and students interact via a virtual conference platform without being in the same place.
Electronically mediated learning is known as eLearning. After classroom training, eLearning is the most popular training format in corporate training. Its accessibility at your own pace, anytime, anywhere, makes it the preferred training method. It overcomes the time and space barriers that face-to-face training cannot and can be adapted to a wide variety of training needs.
Microlearning is another self-paced training approach that offers short learning units that each focus on a single learning objective. It is popularly known as “bite-sized learning” because it provides as much information as can be consumed in a short period of time. Microlearning assets can stand alone or be part of a mix. It is also the preferred mode to provide performance support tools.
Performance support (or job aids) is about providing immediate solutions to employees in emergency situations. It enables just-in-time learning when learners need instant information for use in the workplace. Any business training program is incomplete without adequate performance support.
Benefits of blended learning for training managers
Here’s a quick look at the L&D challenges that blended learning strategies can help address training managers: With blended learning, much of your staff’s training can be done online, reducing learners’ time in the classroom. Classroom sessions can be limited to creative and collaborative exercise and clarifying doubts when teacher intervention is required.
VILT has the advantage of having a trainer guide and intervene when it is not possible to gather trainers and learners in one place. Learners benefit from the flexibility offered by online training at their own pace without losing the element of social interaction. In fact, in blended learning, social interactions are not limited to fellow learners and the instructor, but can take place between a much larger group via online forums, communities and social media. Thanks to Rapid eLearning, online training courses can be rolled out quickly and information can be updated easily (using authoring tools).
Conditions to be considered
Now is the time to discuss what you need to implement blended learning for your organizational training. This is very important for training managers – to be fully informed and to build a successful business case.
1. Create awareness for digitization
Much of corporate training is still conducted in the classroom due to the reluctance to use digital training. A majority of stakeholders and learners are suspicious of technology and its reliability in learning and development. Therefore, it is very important to create awareness and train learners and stakeholders about digitization before implementing blended learning.
You can create toolkits and case studies for stakeholders to learn how online training can help the organization achieve its business goals. There is no shortage of success stories on the subject. They can also educate stakeholders about how different virtual training formats work, what their individual advantages are, and how they can be used together to surpass each other’s disadvantages. To prepare the learners, you can start trailers, create videos or infographics, and promote the benefits of blended learning through your social media channels. You can use polls and polls to get answers and feedback from learners about their expectations and doubts.
2. Train the trainers
Instructors are an important part of face-to-face training and also for blended learning. For a successful blended approach, you also need to involve yourself from the lecturers. You can do this by:
- Address their concerns about moving training to a virtual format.
- Including them while determining which training programs will definitely require the involvement of an instructor and what can be done without them.
- Preparation for VILT – how to use the platform and how to recreate the interactivities of a physical classroom in a virtual one.
- Let them know about new and innovative teaching styles that can be delivered through virtual classroom platforms such as breakout rooms.
3. Prepare the technical infrastructure
The next step in implementing a blended learning strategy is building the infrastructure for online training. This means:
- Selection and establishment of a Learning Management System (LMS) as a central hub for all training courses.
- Assignment of a dedicated LMS administrator to monitor all LMS activities.
- Provision of the necessary equipment and a stable internet connection for the learners.
- Choosing an authoring tool for developing eLearning courses.
- Selection of the platform for VILT and training of learners and trainers in their use
Create a business case
All of the points discussed in this chapter will help you create a successful business case for blended learning to convince your stakeholders. In addition to the advantages of blended learning, you can also highlight:
- The cost-benefit ratio of a blended learning solution rather than a fully virtual or fully classroom-based approach.
- The opportunity costs saved through online training without sacrificing human interaction.
- The advantage of fast eLearning development for the needs-based introduction of training programs.
- The economies of scale of eLearning through reusability, standardization and translations.
- Case studies on various training topics that can be successfully carried out through a blended approach.
Which industries can benefit from blended learning?
Blended learning solutions work well across industries and topics, but are certainly a must for:
- Liven up dry topics like compliance training and keep them fresh on learners’ minds
- Offer many exercise options in software training
- Enable continuous learning and peer support for onboarding
- Provide on-demand access and regular interactions with experts for product training
- Offer the element of human interaction in soft skills and leadership training
Conclusion: what is NOT blended learning?
Here’s a quick look at what blended learning isn’t:
- Classroom training only followed by eLearning
- Using technology in the classroom (like using cell phones to take a quiz in the classroom)
- Digital resources uploaded to the LMs for access anytime, anywhere
Blended learning uses online and offline activities to cover different aspects of the same training topic, complemented by performance-enhancing tools.
Download the eBook Blended Learning – The Rapid eLearning Way for insights on how to start a successful rapid blended learning program. Also take part in the webinar to learn how to develop holistic blended learning solutions for your team.
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