Today, the focus on training is strategically aligned with the business. As a step in the direction of meeting the organization’s principal goal—success, development of training material encompasses a blended approach. The blending of content provides a mix of eLearning nuggets, reinforced coaching strategies, robust new performance support systems, and learners’ collaboration and curation of learning content.
It’s estimated that more than 90 percent of learning is obtained through informal means, and only 10 percent comes from traditional structured training. There is also a general consensus around blended learning designs leaning toward a 70:20:10 framework (70% experiential learning, 20% social learning, 10% formal learning) as the preferred strategy to improve workplace performance and with a greater focus on supporting informal learning.
Blended Learning Increases Learner Engagement
As eLearning is on the rise, more and more companies move classroom content online, but don’t do away with it altogether.
The benefits of a classroom environment are highlighted in a recent article on How Blended Learning and Gamification Increase Student Engagement. The article states that, the classroom environment — especially if it’s a really collaborative, innovative, problem-solving focused environment — is so important. And it’s not impossible, but it’s much harder to create that culture online.
Rob Schwartz, an online teacher, believes that online teachers can also enhance a learner’s engagement. To quote Rob, “Nobody wants to engage with content; people want to engage with other people about content. When we learn, it’s a human experience. If we try to remove the humanity too much from it and turn it into just technology, we’re missing out on a really critical part of that experience of learning.”
Leveraging an LMS for Blended Learning
Leveraging an LMS may prove to be an excellent option for your organization. When used for blended learning, an LMS offers several advantages for both employee and management.
- An LMS allows Management to offer training programs that provide various approaches, including mobile learning, online learning, and face-to-face learning. A mix of these approaches lend toward keeping the learner motivated and engaged. Blended learning programs that are carried out with an LMS allow you to blend online learning and classroom sessions for a more effective approach.
- With the use of an LMS for a blended learning approach, keeps the training process streamlined. Planning and monitoring training activities with the help of an LMS makes it really easy.
- An LMS provides for a robust server and a secure system, which makes it easy to store and access learning data.
- The ability to reach out to more learners spread throughout the world. Virtual learning sessions and eLearning courses can be easily delivered without compromising on the quality and consistency of training.
- Multiple learning formats (including podcasts, text files, videos, mobisodes and more) and media channels—offline and online). The use of an LMS makes it easier for training programs to cater to different demands and needs.
- An LMS provides greater training flexibility and encourages a continuous learning process without geographical boundaries or time restrictions. A blended approach offers training resources that may be reached via chat rooms, wikis, blogs, forums and other online options.
- Using online training channels often improves interaction with instructors or trainers because it increases their approachability. Social learning and collaborative tools, along with online help, helps to facilitate greater levels of interaction between trainers and employees.
- Increased approachability and interaction with trainers/instructors through the use of online training channels—social learning, collaborative tools, and online help.
- Encourages employees to learn at their own pace and stimulates greater knowledge retention. Dependency is reduced on single sources of information is reduced as employees also have access to important learning resources online.
Benefits of Blended Learning
Companies reap the benefits of eLearning as it is a convenient mode of training a larger audience. When training is well delivered, both staff and the company at large, leverage from increased performance levels and reduced training costs. The blended learning benefits for corporate training may be briefly described as follows:
- Improved ROI – Companies are able to save through decreased travel and reduced material, leading to improved and more efficient staff performance. This lends toward improving consistency and scalability with eLearning—longer hours of classroom training are condensed into fewer hours of web-based learning.
- Consistency in delivery – ELearning promotes a standardized process and consistency in the delivery of content.
- Real-time access of content – The eLearning course can be accessed anytime, anywhere and through the device of the learner’s choice.
- Greater retention – The eLearning approach includes a combination of multimedia and instructional designs to deliver a rich learning experience. Through this learning environment, learners are more likely to retain learning content and repeat the course to enhance learning and subsequently performance results.
- More control to learners – Learners can go at their own pace, not at the pace of the slowest or fastest member of the learning group within the class environment.
Almost every person surveyed this year said that blended learning approaches work best. To reiterate those opinions, I quote an L&D director who summed up Blended Learning as follows:
“The single modality learning approach is definitely going by the wayside. It just reflects changes in society and technology in general.”