5 Best Practices of Blended Learning
Blended Learning is a highly effective training strategy that is often misunderstood. In this blog, we dispel five frequent misconceptions that people have about blended learning.
The beauty of the blended learning environment is that you get all the advantages of technology without forgoing crucial human interaction. Your learners can use online resources anytime, and anywhere they choose to enhance their learning experience. Face-to-face instruction continues to provide them with the support and feedback they require. However, understanding how to effectively blend these two strategies is critical. Before we get into the specifics, it’s important to understand the relevance of blended learning.
Are You Looking To Implement Blended Learning in Your Workspace?
Here are a few best practices to keep in mind:
- Determine Your eLearning Objectives Ahead of Time
- Determine the Demand for Blended Learning
- Select the Right Platform, Approach, and Methodology
Explore these and more blended learning tips in this post.
Why Blended Learning?
Organizations have always preferred traditional classroom instruction. However, in recent years, eLearning has taken center stage. Today’s learners desire training that combines the personalized communication of a classroom with the convenience of self-paced learning. Blended learning provides the ideal answer by combining the engagement of a live classroom with the flexibility of learning at any time, and from any location. With its many customized formats, this innovative approach also aids in continual learning.
We need to combine classroom training with alternative techniques, such as eLearning, to fulfill the demands of today’s dynamic corporate environment. When you combine ILT and eLearning, learners gain a holistic learning experience.
Despite the benefits of blended learning, it has its own set of challenges. One is a lack of personalized connection, and customization to match each learner’s specific needs. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the dependence on virtual instructor-led training programs has also led to “Zoom fatigue” in both learners and instructors.
If you want to go in for blended learning, then you need to explore these 5 best practices to help you develop brilliant courses for your corporate workforce.
5 Best Practices for Effective Blended Learning
1. Determine Your eLearning Objectives Ahead of Time
Each set of learners has distinct learning requirements. New hires, for example, will require complete knowledge of their company’s business procedures, whilst veteran staff may only require occasional refresher training. With blended learning, you have the benefit of giving your learners the proper solution that is targeted and tailored to their learning requirements. Also, new recruits value face-to-face interaction on procedures, while older employees gain fresh insights from eLearning on new product and service features.
Blended learning helps you find ways to build a seamless learning experience and creatively employ a range of media to meet the requirements of diverse learners.
Consider when your company implements eLearning. You can incorporate online training into blended learning modules:
- As an introductory teaser at the start of a training program to give learners a general sense of what the trainer is going to discuss in upcoming sessions
- To make the learning process easier., You can host an ILT (Instructor Led Training) session for face-to-face engagement with experts and an exchange of ideas with peers.
- To evaluate learners, you can offer rapid feedback assessments before and after training.
- To distribute how-to videos at the start of an instructor-led workshop.
- As refresher training or on-the-job support using infographics and small videos.
2. Determine the Demand for Blended Learning
Blended learning is, by its very nature, adaptable. It’s critical to understand the form and scope of your learners’ demands before building a blended learning solution. Ask yourself these questions before designing blended learning. When do you want the training program to start? What is the size of your training group? Both these answers need to be found out, when determining the need for a blended learning solution.
Let’s say your firm is preparing for the global launch of a new product in the next month. You must quickly train your sales staff on the key characteristics of this new product. The demand is urgent, and the learners are in large numbers. As a result, holding an ILT session on its own is not a viable choice.
You can distribute a brief video or infographic highlighting the product’s key features to employees right away as part of an online course. This allows the sales staff to learn the product’s features speedily. Later in the year, as part of a yearlong training program, you can host an ILT session that provides in-depth knowledge about the product.
3. Select the Right Platform, Approach, and Methodology
Once you’ve established your objectives, you need to figure out which parts of your blended learning module you offer online and which ones you put up online, and how best to present each component. Put yourself in your learners’ shoes. As blended learning uses several approaches to convey information, you must always match the training platform to the learning topic. A scenario-based exercise, for example, is more suited to an online course, but a group discussion may be more productive when conducted in person.
4. Encourage Your Employees to Collaborate with one Another
Whenever your workforce connects with one another, they have the chance to share their experiences, explore alternate learning routes and methodologies, and apply what they’ve learned in the classroom by evaluating their knowledge and skills. Encourage your learners to gain in-depth insights into the training topic by expressing their views and addressing their concerns and issues with their peers. They can do so using a social media tool or during a real-time training session. This is the beauty of blended learning.
5. Consider Creative Ways to Construct Blended Learning
Although blended learning has various advantages, its effectiveness is determined by its design. Identifying what goes into a blended learning face-to-face solution as well as what goes in an asynchronous online course is a sensitive undertaking. It requires a thorough understanding of your key learning goals and learners’ profiles. If the blend isn’t designed properly, you won’t be able to reap its multiple benefits.
Fortunately, employing the job task inventory matrix is one approach to ensure there are no lapses while developing a blended learning solution.
- For each learner profile, a job task inventory matrix includes the job title, work responsibilities, and a list of tasks that each learner must complete on the job.
- Once you determine these activities, you must categorize them using four key criteria: frequency, significance, learning difficulty, and the danger of making mistakes on the job.
Let’s look at an example of how to use the job task inventory matrix to create a blended learning solution. If all the elements are on the higher end of the matrix, then you can use a blend of ILT and eLearning.
- A subject matter expert supplies the content and insight into the implications or risks involved in the classroom.
- Demos, virtual practice sessions, and quick feedback are all available through eLearning.
- On-the-job aids improve the learners’ comprehension.
In case the information needed to fulfil a specific professional function is not difficult to learn, and the elements of the job task inventory matrix is on the lower side, then there’s less risk involved. Here, an instructor-led training program is not needed. Rather, you can use these learning strategies to directly train the learner: self- paced learning, social learning, and performance support tools.
You can use these tips to create blended learning courses that combine the benefits of face-to-face instruction and online learning and ensure that your learners get the most out of their training. Developing a blended learning strategy can be a challenging task. Still, you can build an efficient blended learning solution if you are properly organized and allow yourself to be creative.
With blended learning, you can create learner-centric courses for your company. It allows businesses to benefit from the best of both the online and offline worlds, making the time spent in the classroom more productive. For more information on blended learning and how to implement it to increase employee performance, download our free eBook titled, “Blended Learning: A Guide to Boost Employee Performance.”
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in May 2022 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.