The 5-Step Process To Ensure A Robust Blended Learning Strategy

The 5-Step Process To Ensure A Robust Blended Learning Strategy
Summary: Organizations today can’t rely on just Instructor-Led Training or online learning in isolation to address changing learning needs. To offer an all-around training to learners, the best of both ILT and eLearning need to be combined. This is what blended learning is all about.

How To Ensure A Robust Blended Learning Strategy

While the mechanics of carrying out a blended learning approach may have changed a bit over the years, the basic idea remains the same: using a combination of one or more delivery methods to offer a well-defined, coherent learning experience. In this article, let’s look at the 5-step process an organization needs to follow in order to achieve an effective eLearning blend.

1. Determine The Learning Objectives Of Your Training Program

Apart from analyzing the readiness of the organization to adopt the blend in terms of technical and financial infrastructure, the first step of a blended learning strategy should be to define the learning objectives which describe what you want learners to achieve after completion. Knowing what you want your learners to do after completing a training program will help you pick the right content and structure it.

The well-defined learning objectives help in determining whether the direction of your training is correct. The objectives will span both the ILT and eLearning components of the course. Here are some examples of learning objectives:

  • Takeaways for learners after completing the course
  • Skills, if any, the course intends to impart to the learners

2. Decide Which Modules Will Be Delivered Through ILT/eLearning

When formulating a blended learning strategy, it is important to have a clear idea regarding the outline for each of the training modules. When looking to implement a blend of Instructor-Led Training and eLearning, determining which modules will be delivered through ILT, and which will be through the online format is crucial.

Components that fulfill the criteria of conversion from ILT to eLearning need to be identified and should be gathered in a single place for the eLearning vendor to take the conversion process forward.

Some of these ILT materials may be instructionally sound. However, this does not mean that the material qualifies for direct conversion to an eLearning format. Instructional Designers must follow the Instructional Design and adult learning principles, use their domain knowledge and expertise to fill any gaps, to ensure that the resultant product is effective and complements the blend overall.

3. Pick A Rapid Authoring Tool For Converting The Necessary Components

Picking a tool that can readily convert ILT materials such as PowerPoint presentations into effective and engaging rapid eLearning courses is of crucial importance. Rapid authoring tools such as iSpring and Articulate Storyline, when combined with the right Instructional Design expertise, are capable of churning out interactive and engaging eLearning rapidly.

Most rapid authoring tools come equipped with ready-made templates for creating major instructional strategies such as scenario-based learning, dialogue simulations, and assessments. As a result, these templates render developing the eLearning component of the blended learning remarkably cost- and time-efficient.

4. Complement Classroom Training With Digital Resources

Classroom training and online learning in a blended setting complement each other, and steps need to be taken to ensure this is the case. For example, most learners who tend to forget what they have learned during classroom training need to be given reinforcement training to ensure they do their jobs well. The same classroom training module can be divided into small, bite-sized snippets i.e., mobile-friendly microlearning modules for easier learning.

Learners can refer to course-related materials available on a portal to perform job-tasks in times of crises. This is called on-the-job support; learners can make use of this facility on their smartphones and tablets. This type of blend is especially advantageous for a workforce that is on the move all the time (such as sales teams).

For learners as such, the ILT material can be made available online by converting it into various digital formats such as short interactive videos, job-aids, microlearning modules, animations, interactive PDFs, and more, which function as Performance Support Tools that facilitate the appropriate execution of job-tasks.

5. Make The Most Of The LMS To Support The Right Blend

Designers of blended learning need to create a blended environment by selecting technologies that best complement the learning experience. One of those technologies is the Learning Management System (LMS). An LMS for blended learning can be utilized in the following ways:

  • Use your LMS to notify your learners of upcoming classroom sessions using the training calendar feature and to record attendance.
  • Conduct online pre-tests to evaluate the knowledge levels of your employees, prior to the ILT training.
  • Host ILT resources such as course material, handouts, and how-to guides in the digital format.
  • Provide access to online job-aids to enhance the performance of your staff.
  • Conduct assessments online after the ILT program to evaluate the learners.

There has been a dramatic rise in the blended learning approaches in the past few years where it has acted as a replacement or a supplement for face-to-face environments. It has grown into a viable option for organizations looking to initiate technology-enabled learning in their training strategy. Follow the 5-step process to effectively ensure a successful blended learning strategy, and ensure you offer learners the best of both worlds.