Why blended learning? With work from home turning out to be the new normal in today’s world, the usual boundaries between personal and professional life have become blurred. And one of the casualties of this new normal is employee training. With face-to-face classroom training almost out of the running, should employee training be restricted to only eLearning?
When we crave variety and a range of options for everything, from food to fashion to entertainment and hobbies, why should employee training be any different? So, how do we help learners get back their interest in training? By blending different training formats, of course. And that’s what this blog is all about.
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Aligning your Blended Learning Strategy with Business Goals
Before diving into the blended learning strategies, it’s important that your training is perfectly aligned with your business goals. And here’s a 4-step guide to help you do just that.
1. Plan training based on your long-term business goals
It’s always better to determine your organization’s long-term business goals at the outset. Once you are clear with your business goals, analyze where you are standing with those goals, and then determine the specific deficiencies in performance and desired improvements or outcomes of training.
Choosing the Right Blended Learning Model
5 easy steps:
- Identify the training need
- Analyze your audience
- Decide the training schedule
- Consider the complexity of the content
- Decide on the blend
2. Gather complete information about the training
While Training Need Analysis (TNA) offers insights for creating an effective training plan, relevant information on the logistics is also important to ensure seamless design and development.
It’s important to conduct an audit to assess the status of the learning content, budget, infrastructure, resources capabilities, and timelines. You also need to keep learner demographics in mind, especially when you have a globally dispersed workforce.
3. Strategize appropriate delivery formats
Before deciding on a blended learning strategy, it’s important you consider different training formats and choose the ones that are most suitable and effective for your organization. While eLearning and classroom instructor-led training (ILT) usually serve as the foundation for a blended program, the classroom part may be replaced by virtual classrooms considering the current global situation.
Here are 4 core blended learning models you can choose from.
1. Rotational Model
In this model, learners are required to follow a fixed schedule that rotates between different training methods such as classroom training, eLearning, and collaborative group activities and discussions.
2. Flex Model
Unlike the Rotational model, online training is the main component in the Flex blended learning model. It also includes group activities, group projects, or individual tutoring by an instructor.
3. Enriched Virtual Model
In this blended learning model, learners primarily learn online with a mandatory face-to-face component included. This could happen in a brick-and-mortar classroom or through virtual instructor-led training (VILT).
4. A La Carte Model
In the À La Carte blended learning model, learners complete part of the training through traditional classroom training which is then supplemented by online training.
Here’s an infographic that will take you through the different types of blended learning models.
4. Offer support for continual learning
Learning is a journey, a process. And to support this, it is important to offer learners opportunities for continual learning. While ILT or eLearning form a major part of the blended approach, continuous learning opportunities help ensure learning is sticky and available on demand.
You can offer continuous learning opportunities throughout the blended learning program through:
- Microlearning assets
- Pre-tests to test learner’s existing knowledge before formal training
- Videos to refresh key concepts from the formal training
- Game-based learning nuggets to allow learners to practice solving work-related problems
- Interactive PDFs, eBooks, and audio podcasts as refreshers
Choosing the Right Blended Learning Model for Your Business
Here are a few tips to choose the right blended learning model for your business:
Identify the training need
It is important to accurately identify your learners’ training needs before implementing any training solution.
Analyze the audience
Audience demographics are also an important factor when choosing your blended learning model. If your organization has a global presence across different geographical locations, it’s impossible to organize classroom training for everyone at the same time. The Flex blended learning model would be ideal here as online training is the backbone of this model.
Decide on the training schedule
If you have never ventured into online learning and have had all your training programs in the classroom, then classroom-based training supplemented by online training will be best. If you want a fixed training schedule, then it’s better to go with the Rotational model as it gives you more control over different learning components, ensuring their completion within stipulated timelines.
Consider the complexity of the content
You must consider the complexity of the topic before choosing a blended learning model as sometimes online training may not be enough, requiring the inclusion of classroom training. If the content is complex or requires hands-on practice, the Rotation blended learning model would be ideal.
Decide on the blend
Make a list of resources you already have in place. Apart from instructors, you can have educators who can act as guides to facilitate learning, and SMEs (subject matter experts) participating in expert discussions. After that, list down the online training components that you would like to use in the blend.
It’s a Wrap!
Hope you enjoyed this blog on blended learning. Blended learning has the potential to revamp and revolutionize training for today’s corporate organizations and home-bound employees. It’s definitely the best option for satisfying the learning needs and challenges of learners who want the traditional instructor-based learning for its human touch and also the flexibility of learning anytime, anywhere in different formats.