The term Blended Learning means different to different people. For some, it’s a means to initiate e-learning in their organization, to move their learners from traditional classrooms to e-learning, in small steps. For others, it’s to fill gaps or complement their existing classroom training. No matter what it’s used for, blended learning is an ideal way to train learners. Not only does it allow organizations to leverage the potential benefits of online learning, but it also keeps the instructor component in training intact.
Here, let’s see the different ways you can blend Instructor-Led Training (ILT) with e-learning to reap vast benefits.
1. Carry Out Pre-Classroom Activities Online
Blended Learning gives you a chance to extend the activities of your classroom training both before and after training. One way of making the most of blended learning is to have your pre and post-classroom activities online. For example, you can use e-learning if you want to pre-teach before a classroom training session with a concept called ‘previewing’. By adding learning resources such as videos, asking questions via online polls and engaging students in online discussions on a subject, you can raise learner interest even before the training starts.
Consequently, learners can get their doubts cleared and ask questions during these discussions, thereby saving precious classroom time. Also, instructors can focus on providing in-depth explanations and examples in the classroom.
2. Put the Assessments Online
When you have your assessments online, you save time. Not only that, if you host your assessments on a Learning Management System (LMS), it makes it easier for you to automate the scoring, track and report the learner’s progress and also generate online reports.
With blended learning in place, you can have your pre and post-classroom assessments online. For example, let’s say you want to train your learners about the unique features of a vacuum cleaner. Now, if you wish to know what your learners already know about a vacuum cleaner, you can have a pre-classroom assessment on the subject in the form of a multiple-choice test. This will not only help you determine their existing knowledge of vacuum cleaners, but also allow you to structure your training accordingly. Similarly, you can host your post-classroom assessments online instead of asking them to take a paper-based assessment (which is time consuming, especially when the same could be used for some valuable face-to-face interaction).
3. Don’t Force the Blend When It’s Not Needed
The primary focus of blended learning is identifying courses that are suitable for classroom training and digital learning. Learners learn differently, while blended learning is flexible, there are certain aspects that may not work with your learners; you must not force it on them. Ensure that you conduct a thorough analysis of your content and audience before you select your training delivery format. For example, some learners may not be computer-literate enough to take online courses/assessments. You need to have a balanced strategy in place so that your training can accommodate all types of learners.
So, it is not just about using technology because it is available; blended learning is about finding better ways of supporting your learners in achieving the learning objectives and offering the best learning experience, all while supporting the trainers in their role.
4. Make the Training Material Available Online
By making the training materials available online you give your learners “anytime-anywhere” access. You can use an LMS as a repository for all your learning resources. You can have presentations (PPTs), classroom videos or recordings, assessments or the entire curriculum, at a single place for your learners to access whenever they need, and any number of times.
These can also act as job-aids and can provide performance support when needed. For example, learners can log in to the LMS and navigate to the resources area of the curriculum to access a specific job-aid they want. Think of the amount of time and paper this will save!
5. Reinforce Classroom Training Through Online Courses
Reinforcement training is extremely important if you want your learners to apply what they have learned in the training. One way to reinforce their classroom training is through short online courses, often called as microlearning modules.
For example, sales people undergo tons of training to get a grip on various products and develop confidence in selling them to their prospects. When sales people are out in the field, they can easily refer to the training resources online, without having to wait for the next classroom session. They act as a reference guide that can be easily accessible when required or periodically just to brush-up their product knowledge. These courses can be delivered online to your sales personnel, on their mobiles, who can take them at a convenient time – while travelling, while waiting for clients, at work or at the comfort of their homes.
Blended learning can be the best of both worlds. It not only changes how content is delivered, it also redefines traditional learning roles and provides different opportunities for learning. Though it’s a significant undertaking, once done rightly, such a program can bring significant benefits to both the organization and the employees.