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Why And How To Use Blended Learning In Corporate Training

For decades, companies have relied on the instructor-led format for training their employees. Though this learning methodology is highly effective in imparting good training, organizations face certain problems using this format, such as logistic issues in scheduling trainer-led sessions, high cost of training, inability to facilitate continuous access to learning, and so on. A new learning method was required, and the advent of the digital age soon provided the answer – blended learning. Organizations began to develop hybrid learning strategies that utilized both classroom and web-based learning methodologies. This trend has been growing at a feverish pace over the last few years and shows no signs of abating in the near future. Here is why and how to use blended learning in corporate training.

3 Benefits Of Using Blended Learning In Corporate Training

1. Blended Learning Makes Classroom Training Efficient

A hybrid learning approach helps instructors make the best use of the time in the classroom. Learners can be asked to complete certain portions of the learning content online, such as basic concepts or theory, and this allows instructors to spend more time clarifying doubts and testing the comprehension levels of learners in the classroom. Consider the following scenario:

The salespeople of an insurance company are assigned an online learning module on its latest annuity policy. Sales reps complete the module and list their doubts. Then, they attend a trainer-led session, where the doubts are clarified and the product features and benefits are explained in detail.  

Another advantage of blended learning is that it can be used to ensure all learners have the same level of knowledge, when they attend an instructor-led session. One of our clients in the pharmaceutical space uses a hybrid learning approach where medical reps, with no background in life sciences, take online courses on the basics of human anatomy and physiology before attending classroom sessions. This ensures that all learners have the same level of knowledge, irrespective of their educational background, when they attend the trainer-led session.

2. Hybrid Learning Saves Time And Money

When you move a part of your training program online, the time spent in the classroom is reduced. One of our clients in the manufacturing domain used to train its service technicians for two months, in a classroom, before adopting hybrid learning methodologies. After implementing blended learning, learners spend only a month undergoing instructor-led training.

IBM estimates that almost 40% of classroom training costs are spent on travel and lodging. Therefore, the reduction in the time spent in the classroom due to blended solutions, translates into reduced training costs. This is because you incur less expenditure, compared to a “classroom only” delivery method. Furthermore, the number of man-hours lost to training is also reduced, resulting in increased productivity.  A manufacturing organization used mLearning to supplement its workplace safety training. Safe lifting procedures were delivered to employees’ Blackberry devices to ensure information is readily accessible.

3. Flexible Training Can Be Imparted With A “Human Touch”

We all know that one of the biggest shortcomings of a self-paced eLearning program is the absence of an instructor. This could result in poor learner engagement levels, affecting the quality of training.

You can overcome this problem very effectively by blending online and trainer-led mediums of learning. The classroom component of a hybrid learning program enables your staff members to interact with an instructor, while the eLearning component helps provide flexible training. In other words, you can enjoy the benefits of both learning formats and overcome their limitations.

4 Ways To Create Effective Blended Learning In Corporate Training

1. Tell Your Learners The Benefits Of A Hybrid Learning Approach

It is important to convince your learners that the blended learning program will help them learn better, to ensure their active participation. Explain how the approach will help them cut down on classroom training time, yet offer anytime, anywhere access to training material, improving their productivity and efficiency.

For instance, if your employees are informed that an online module has scenarios that’ll help them check their understanding and application of the Code of Conduct policies, they will surely be interested in taking the course.

A proper, well-reasoned explanation plays a key role in gaining the acceptance of your people and making the blended learning program a grand success.

2. Develop Your Blended Learning Program Based On Learning Outcomes

When you blend learning formats, you need to be guided by the learning outcomes. Remember that the choice of formats must enable you achieve the set learning outcomes.

For instance, you need to come up with an appropriate blend of learning methods to train your service technicians, based on the learning outcome – equipping them with the ability to troubleshoot your products. This objective can be met through a blend of video-based eLearning modules and workshops. In the workshop, they gain hands-on experience on the product, whereas the videos can serve as ready reckoners they can access when they have doubts, to familiarize themselves with the product, if they are handling it after a gap, and so on.

3. Consider The Preferences Of Your Employees When Formulating A Learning Blend

It is important that you take the environment in which your people work and their preferences into consideration when you design your blended learning program. It is better to conduct a survey to find out the requirements of your learners and the learning formats they prefer. This will help you ensure your blend caters to their needs – if you have a lot of blue-collared workers on the shop floor, they would prefer videos, whereas Millennials in executive positions would like a mix of short, gamified modules.

For example, one of our customers in the BFSI sector found out that most of its salespeople wanted to be members of an online learning community, where they could share their knowledge with each other through their smartphones. Based on this information, the company created a mobile learning community for the learners.

4. Make The Best Use Of Your Learning Management System (LMS)

Your LMS can be a very useful tool to implement your hybrid learning strategy because it enables you to:

  • Inform learners about the schedules of classroom sessions.
  • Deliver pre-classroom learning.
  • Host a repository of training materials.
  • Facilitate exchange of knowledge through social media.
  • Conduct online assessments.
  • Measure the effectiveness of learning through a wide range of reports.

A good blend of learning formats goes a long way in imparting effective training to your workforce, reducing costs and extending the accessibility of training. Follow the tips discussed in the article to create the winning learning blend.

References

  1. Global Blended E-learning Market 2015-2019
  2. The value of e-learning
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