Advantages And Disadvantages Of Blended Learning In Corporate Training
Every learning strategy has its pros and cons. The question that all eLearning professionals must ask is whether the good outweigh the bad? This also rings true for blended learning in the workplace. Will combining learning technology with face-to-face instruction and/or self-paced learning benefit your learners? Are the risks worth the rewards? Let's take a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages of blended training.
4 Blended Learning Advantages
- Provides personalized training experiences.
Face-to-face instruction and technology working hand in hand offers employees a customized training experience with personalized feedback. If they are struggling with a particular training topic, they can access supplemental resources online or get the help they need from their instructor. They are also able to utilize specific multimedia activities that cater to their performance goals. For example, if they would like to develop their customer service skills, they can log into the training platform and participate in a customer-based scenario or simulation. If they need to learn more about a particular product and its features, they are able to access the product demo and tutorial instantly. Instead of sitting through an hour-long training course to get the information they require, they can just pick-and-choose which elements will improve their performance and skill sets.
- Offers 24/7 access to training resources.
Blended learning training removes time and location limitations. If the employee is at home and would like to spend a moment brushing up on product specs, they can do so. If they are on the sales floor and need to learn how to carry out a return, they can simply access the tutorial via any of the terminals. Corporate learners no longer have to wait for a scheduled training to address their concerns and questions, as the online training resources are always there to help. If you create an online forum, they can also benefit from the experience of their co-workers and get answers to questions when the instructor is not available.
- Track employee performance and skill development.
Blended learning also makes data tracking more quick and convenient. Instead of grading exams, use an online assessment with a build-in grading rubric, which also offers the added bonus of immediate feedback. Virtually every training exercise and activity can be tracked to gauge employee progress and skill set development, from the choices they make in a branching scenario to their level of participation in an online discussion. Organizations also gain the opportunity to figure out which activities are effective and which need to be modified in order to meet performance goals and objectives.
- Reduction in training costs.
The benefit that brings many organizations to a blended learning strategy is the cost savings. Employees who are doing their job instead of sitting in a training room are improving the company’s bottom line as opposed to utilizing precious resources. This is due to the fact that blended learning can make the training process more effective, but does not require as much time or money as traditional training. No instructors need to be present, in some cases, and there is no training space to rent. In addition, the training courses can be updated and expanded in a fraction of the time, as there are no printed materials to worry about.
3 Blended Learning Disadvantages
- Ineffective use of learning technology tools can waste resources.
If training facilitators and employees are unaware of how to use the learning technology provided, you probably won’t get the results you’re looking for. Also, if you utilize learning technology tools that are less reliable or do not offer the necessary features, then it may end up wasting resources instead of improving ROI. This is why it’s crucial to find the right tools before you implement your blended learning program in the workplace. Determine which devices and software are going to meet your needs, as well as which fit into your overall training budget.
- Learners must have basic technology knowledge or a willingness to learn.
In virtually all blended learning environments you will encounter at least one learner who is hesitant about change. There are also those who may not be familiar with technology and have a steep learning curve ahead of them. To alleviate this issue, you should have support on hand to teach new learners and motivate those who may be more reluctant. It’s also important to cultivate a blended learning community that stresses the value of technology in training, as well as the real world benefits it can offer. Set up workshops that employees can attend in order to learn as much as possible about the new training program, and be introduced to the features of the devices they’ll be using on a regular basis.
- High technology set up and maintenance costs.
Purchasing the learning technology for your blended learning program, such as devices and infrastructure setup, can be costly. This is especially true if you have a larger workforce or several departments. However, bear in mind that these are just short term expenses, and that you are most likely saving money in the long run. Even if you have to pay a nominal monthly maintenance fee, you are still receiving the many benefits that a blended learning strategy has to offer.
Hopefully this article has offered the insight you need to make your final decision? Are you going to go the route of blended learning, or should you take an alternative path? Blended learning can offer a wide range of benefits, but is it the ideal choice for your performance goals and learner needs?
Still undecided about whether blended learning is the right solution for your corporate training? Read the article Tips To Use Blended Learning In Corporate Training to explore how to use blended learning in corporate training in order to create an immersive and engaging blended learning experience for your learners.