7 Minutes of reading

Blended Learning: How can you optimise your training course?

Learners are often required to complete a Blended Learning path quickly to respond as fast as possible to the needs of the learners. But what is the best choice in the end?

There's no point in implementing an extensive blended learning course if you miss the right time for setting it up.

We all would like to see our blended learning training succeed. We want this to benefit the employees, the organisation, the trainees in our training courses and to create an example of a successful project. We repeatedly read that blended learning is the future of training; therefore, we intuitively feel it is part of the solution. The challenge is to offer training courses that combine e-learning with more experiential human interactions.

blended learning techniques

 

There's no point in implementing an extensive blended learning course if you miss the right time for setting it up.

We all would like to see our blended learning training succeed. We want this to benefit the employees, the organisation, the trainees in our training courses and to create an example of a successful project. We repeatedly read that blended learning is the future of training; therefore, we intuitively feel it is part of the solution. The challenge is to offer training courses that combine e-learning with more experiential human interactions.
The trainees in our training courses and create an example of a successful project. We read over and over again that blended learning is the future of training; therefore, we intuitively feel that it is part of the solution. The challenge is to offer training courses that combine e-learning with more experiential human interactions.

 

 

 

Rule NO. 1: Take your time when creating a blended learning path!

 

We all feel the pressure to adapt to the constant ongoing digital progress and market demand. Acting quickly is indeed crucial nowadays. Therefore we naturally feel the need to start the blended learning project as soon as possible. Probably the management is expecting results. Also, saving money is pressuring us to speed things up. In the end, time seems to be the real challenge.

However, we also know how it ends: late, off-budget, and not meeting needs. This willingness to act quickly leads to much friction in the creation process, leaving no stakeholders satisfied, and in the adoption and use, leaving no user happy with the proposed training solution.

Why is this?

It costs a lot to succeed, but even more to fail. Everybody obsesses about having everything done right away and is willing to spend as much as needed. We think that the more we spend, the more we'll get. However, the two are not related. Starting slowly and gradually, then adding gradually and adapting systematically is more difficult in the short term but extremely easy in the long term. 

example of blended learning strategies

 

Rule NO. 2: The right timing!

 

To avoid these common pitfalls in all project management, let's try to draw two simple principles that you can apply to your future blended learning paths. Beware, these are principles, not immutable rules.

Sometimes they can be applied to specific scenarios, sometimes not. Sometimes they will have to be used, sometimes not. Sometimes it will be necessary to produce blended learning paths that will not necessarily be adapted to the final needs but will still have to be created by internal obligation or regulation. Sometimes it will eventually be imperfect, but it will be the first step.

 

1. A story of two clients


As an organization, you have two parts to serve in your blended learning paths: your company and your customers or employees to train. 

This duality of parts to serve may lead you to think of an insoluble dichotomy of interests. On the contrary, however, these two entities are aligned.

On the one hand, your client from "above" (the company, management, etc.) wants the project to succeed. On the other hand, he wants the process to be fast and cheap, but he is mainly result-driven, i.e., the Blended Learning path strengthens the organisation's image and adds value. Cost and time factors can be limiting, but they are secondary conditions to a primary objective.

On the other hand, your customer from "underneath" wants to achieve training that brings value in a limited time and at a reasonable cost. However, delivering a blended learning path that brings value, is innovative, and at an affordable price can, paradoxically, be time-consuming and costly for the organization.

The only way you can reconcile all of these conflicting interests is to draw a superior principle that allows you to arbitrate all of the decisions to be made on the project as a whole. 

In general, this principle falls reasonably quickly on a single axis. What is in the interest of the end-user is in the interest of the project and, therefore, in the company's interest.

 

blended learning programme

 

2. The key is keeping it simple

 

When in doubt, always keep it simple first and then evolve. Start simple, see how the project evolves, then gradually expand. 

Usually, we lose sight of that because of how projects are managed. You have to meet all the demands, all the criteria. Everything, right away. This pushes us to make many mistakes that, at best, are expensive but can be fixed. At worst, they are just expensive. 

How do we fix them? 

What if, instead of rushing to be eventually disappointed, we took our time to be satisfied? It is not a question of lowering one's ambitions but of allowing oneself time to learn and gradually increasing the spectrum of the blended learning pathway. Speeding the process up is possible but shouldn't mean rushing things.

The worst thing that can happen to you is to gradually build up a catalog of blended learning pathways that correspond to the trainees' needs, the company's expectations, fit in with budgetary constraints, and are produced on time.

Synthesis - When in doubt, remember :

  • Starting at the right time
  • Keep it simple
  • Learning progressively with ambition

 

Seven questions that can help you in your blended learning management

 

  1. What are the needs of your trainees? Can I involve my trainees in the development process?
  2. What value will I bring them that they do not already have? Do I meet their needs?
  3. Does my organisation understand and share the "why" of creating these blended learning paths? The "how" will naturally follow.
  4. What is the shortest path I can start with?
  5. What do I take away from this first pathway? What can I improve?
  6. What do I need to repeat for the next course that worked well? What can I capitalize on?
  7. Do I need outside help to mediate between different stakeholders in my organisation and help me build consensus?

TO CONCLUDE 

 

  • Designing a blended learning course in a hurry is counterproductive
  • Be careful: when we say "in a rush", it does not mean that your Blended Learning project has to drag on forever. It can be created quickly without being rushed.
  • It's better to keep it simple at the beginning and then make the Blended Learning project more complex as you go along. 
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blended learning training