5 Minutes of reading
Revitalising your training courses with blended learning
Ever wondered what the secret is to creating dynamic and engaging blended learning courses? Well, we’d be lying if we said there was a shortcut to success, but there are some important considerations that can help you to design a truly dynamic blended learning course!
The key word here is adaptability. The best training courses are the ones that are truly adapted to the needs of your employees and organisation. So, while there isn’t a magic bullet, we promise that we do have some invaluable tips and advice to offer. Keep reading if you don’t believe us!
With blended learning, dull training is out, and learner engagement is in!
Our first piece of advice is this: before you blindly launch yourself into blended learning – perhaps because a conference speaker or colleague has sung its praises – take the time to get to really understand the concept. Many of the characteristics of blended learning, such as sustained interactions between learners and a more well-rounded learning experience, lend themselves well to learner engagement. However, whether blended learning is the right training method really depends on your organisation's specific needs and objectives.
For example, let’s say that you want to provide training to your sales team – who are always on the go and really busy – and get them up to speed with some new products or procedures. In this case, training based purely on e-learning is definitely the way to go. This is because it will be difficult to get all of your employees together in the same place at the same time, given that they all have different schedules. Moreover, if the knowledge that you want to transmit is purely theoretical, holding an in-person session is arguably a waste of time and money.
In fact, blended learning was created to try and resolve some of the challenges associated with e-learning. We know, for instance, that digital training tends to isolate learners by limiting human interaction. Conversely, blended learning re-establishes human contact by encouraging learners to share ideas during in-person, distance or face-to-face sessions.
Although e-learning offers significant benefits, such as reduced training costs and even 24/7 access to training, it is often perceived as a chore or even a punishment by employees, who are very attached to the fun associated with going on a training course. Fortunately, by combining the benefits of e-learning and face-to-face learning, blended learning brings together all of these features, much to the delight of employees!
Creating optimum e-learning modules
To be successful, blended learning needs to be based on innovative and creative teaching modules that appeal to learners.
That’s because employees and their skills are what add value to a company. By putting in place an adapted training process aimed at upskilling employees, companies can therefore become more competitive. This is all the more important for companies impacted by the economic crisis caused by the pandemic.
To move in the right direction, providing engaging and rich training modules to employees is therefore essential. Fortunately, there are now lots of effective learning methods that can help you along the way.
For example, mobile learning allows learners to adapt training to their busy schedules. Interactive learning, meanwhile, keeps employees motivated by encouraging them to interact with one another and engage with the teaching material.
Incorporating finely crafted in-person sessions
By fully integrating in-person sessions into training, blended learning offsets the challenges associated with e-learning. However, in-person sessions also need to be well thought-out and constructed to be effective.
Above all, in-person sessions need to fit in seamlessly with the e-learning modules mentioned above. Ideally, they need to complement and reinforce the online training.
A word of caution, though: many companies find themselves gradually abandoning in-person training in favour of e-learning, which is easier to run and organise. However, this approach isn’t recommended. Even if distance learning seems ideal for the company, employees themselves need to feel as if they are in it together, can share ideas and can break up their day-to-day schedule. What’s more, in-person learning enables them to retain information better and therefore learn additional skills.
As well as being good for employees, in-person training makes training more dynamic, having been revitalised by blended learning. Learning formats are more varied, and trainers can provide a mix of synchronous and asynchronous training.
Nowadays, professional training isn’t just a list of online modules, each more boring than the last. Instead, training is made up of high-quality e-learning modules, virtual classes, collaborative exercises, in-person sessions and quizzes, to name just a few.
Finding the optimum balance between in-person and distance learning
Blended learning certainly offers a rich and unique learner experience by combining distance and in-person learning, but you still need to know how much of each to include to achieve the best training course.
Ultimately, there isn’t a secret recipe for this. The right split of learning methods will vary from one organisation to another. It all depends on the teaching objectives and skills being targeted.
However, as a rule of thumb:
• e-learning is best suited to theory-based training;
• in-person sessions are best suited to practice-based training, such as exercises or simulations;
• quizzes are great for testing skills that have been acquired and for retaining the learner’s attention throughout the training course;
• virtual classes are great for engaging learners, since they establish a social link between participants;
• chats and forums are handy for social learning and group exercises.