By integrating ILTs into eLearning, you can develop a comprehensive curriculum approach to learning rather than dispensing discrete bits and pieces of instruction. You need to whip up the best blend for each training requirement so that your organization can stay on the cutting edge. And to do that you have to take decisions after a great deal of thought. Here are a few guidelines and recommendations for designing your perfect blend.
- Move as much of your content online as you can. Depending on your available time for the ILT component, optimize the classroom time by making sure that only critical content or learning activities are included in the ILT component. Use eLearning to provide fundamental concepts and pre-training preparation. Later get learners together into classroom learning for advanced concepts, practice and hands-on exercises.
- Check the organizational culture. If you are very enthusiastic about ILTs but your CLO is keen on moving to eLearning in a massive way, see what components cannot be met by eLearning and have a separate plan for them in your overall blended solution.
- Do not pre-select your learning delivery format without doing a thorough content, audience and task analysis. Maximize the potential of each delivery format.
- Cost is not always the best deciding criteria. Organizations are increasingly moving towards blended solutions – not in a bid to minimize costs but in a bid to provide the best possible learning solution.
- Get ready for converting most of your existing ILTs into eLearning. Your organization has a wealth of existing resources that can be utilized for your transition to eLearning. Check out a few rapid development tools such as Lectora, Adobe Presenter and Engage, and Captivate to help you convert your existing materials into eLearning. If this skill set is not available, consider hiring experts who can cut down on development time dramatically, leaving you to focus on critical components such as needs analysis and evaluation of training solutions. However a word of caution here, convert ILT into eLearning only is you see a real value addition and not for the sake of doing it. While you are designing your blended solution, you might also want to re-haul those ILT components you plan to retain.
- Long courses are likely to have more dropout rates. Go with the trend of keeping courses short. Nuggets of information are easier to handle than huge mountains of content.
- Be prepared to alter your course of action. Maybe you had decided on certain content being best delivered by a particular delivery format, but on closer study of the materials you decided it was not worthwhile. At this point don’t write it off as a wasted exercise- your learners will thank you for keeping them from an ineffective solution.
- Be realistic. You know intuitively what works with various audiences. Be realistic in your expectations from various groups. For instance, don’t expect your sales engineers to take hours of eLearning courses before they come in to attend classroom training. Knowing their preference, you might want to keep the eLearning component very short so that they can take them on their mobile phones even while travelling and then use the classroom component for advanced discussions. While we are not encouraging that you stereotype your learner groups, we do encourage you to identify core learning preferences that will in turn help you to decide on the best delivery format.
- Use assessments well. Whether you are using ILTs or eLearning, ensure that your learners are assessed at relevant points. The feedback on these assessments might just help them revisit basics that ideally should be available to them at all times. Assessments will also help them see where they stand and which bits require more focus. Their feedback to you will also prove to be valuable in further improving your learning solutions. An increasing trend especially in the case of standard trainings such as compliance trainings is to move all assessments online.
- Don’t camp around past victories. In an attempt to arrive at the right formula, we might be tempted to repeat the exact strategy we followed in the past that was successful. Do remember that your audience, content, learning goals vary, so your solution cannot be blindly applied.
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