Five Tips for Creating An Effective Blended Training Program
A blended training program is one that trains employees by combining an in-person component, with an online training component through a hosted Learning Management System or online training software. Training and testing employees becomes a through-and-through process. Creating blended learning opportunities that include an online training software for your training programs has many advantages. Mixing components from online and face-to-face learning can help you maximize employee understanding and retention of information. It gives you the best of both worlds, allowing an organization to mix the strengths of both approaches. The five tips outlined below can help you blend effectively to maximize learning outcomes.
- Differentiating Instructions. Arguably the best thing about blended learning is the options it gives instructors and course designers to create content that suits a variety of learning and personality styles. When you use face-to-face exclusively, it tends to privilege extroverted personalities over introverts. It also requires the instructor to rely on only a few different approaches. By moving some of the activities online, the only limit to differentiation is your imagination.
- Document how learners manage new material. Blended learning provides instructors with a host of new tools to help them understand how their staff thinks through problems. Most learning management systems (LMSs) and other tools offer the ability to monitor and track how students engage with the material they are presented. This can provide valuable insight on individuals and groups of employees to help you design learning opportunities that naturally fit their learning styles, saving time and maximizing understanding.
- Take learning outside the training program. The use of interactive, online tools as part of a blended learning environment gives you the option to continue the learning process after the face-to-face workshop is over. You can keep an online forum up to allow employees to continue to ask questions and share best practices after the formal training has finished. You can also use formal activities like quizzes to check in on your employees’ retention weeks or months down the road so you know when they need a refresher.
- Make collaboration the main focus. By encouraging the learners in a blended program to work together it gives the instructor the opportunity to maximize learning for all employees. It also helps build a culture of inclusions and allows employees to share the workload. Consider using a cloud service to help learners take collaborative notes on topics and share them or share best practices through a live chat.
- Allow authentic demonstrations of learning. This can take a number of forms. The most powerful approach is often to have trainees produce a product that they can share either with the class or another group who can provide feedback and guidance. Online portfolios can also help you learners keep track of their best work, organize their training certificates and accomplishments and share their learning story with other participants and managers. When used as a tool in performance evaluations and promotion consideration, online portfolios can tell you a lot about who has the credentials, and well as who still has the potential to grow and improve down the line.
Blended learning helps to give instructors and course designers new options to enrich and support overall employee learning. It also give learners a chance to really engage and grow as part of the learning process. When done right, blended learning is a powerful tool to maximize the potential of any organization’s human resources,