According to Dr. Ruth Clark of Clark Training and Consulting, “Distributing learning events over a longer period of time(e.g. 5 weeks) will dramatically increase learning retention compared to compressed learning events (e.g. 5 days).”
So, how do you make sure that your training programs extend for longer periods of time? Classroom training sessions are certainly not the answer. This is because you encounter a number of problems such as increased costs, constraints of logistics and most importantly taking your people out of work for the duration of training.
Then how can you overcome these problems? You may say that self-paced online courses are a solution to these limitations of traditional Instructor-Led Training (ILT). But again, you may face a few issues. Some of your learners may not be comfortable being trained online. The lack of “human touch” can make the training very impersonal. Furthermore, asynchronous eLearning is not very effective in developing soft skills and in cases where hands-on-training is needed.
The disadvantages of classroom training and online courses mentioned above make it clear that no one format can be “perfectly” effective for delivering successful training. It is therefore essential to blend the learning delivery modes to ensure the best training for your workforce. Let us now see the advantages of blending online courses with classroom training programs.
The traditional format of learning is primarily concerned with the presentation of learning content. Blending eLearning with Instructor Led Training system could make the training lively. A blend of ILT and eLearning adds variety to the training mix and engages learners.
Advances in technology permit the development of courses that incorporate various elements of multimedia such as images, audio, text and videos that add color to the training courses and help your staff learn effectively. You can also include games, quizzes and animations into training.
It blends the best of both worlds by using a combination of delivery formats or modalities. You can leverage the benefits of effective classroom delivery that results in optimal learning, along with the advantages of a self-paced module to support learners at different phases of the learning process. You can overcome the limitations of one mode with the benefits of the other.
Flexibility in terms of the content and schedule will enable participants not to drop out from course mid-way because they can accommodate the blended solution into their busy schedules without going through much inconvenience. Since they can pace the online component, they can spend additional time on content that needs more attention. Completing parts of the overall training successfully also leads to increased motivation levels.
Blended solutions allow you to organize your training according to your tailor-made requirements. For instance, if there is a need to provide compliance training for an audience primarily composed of finance staff, who are used to reading a lot of text-heavy content, you can provide pre-course work in the form of documentation that needs to be read up before the course. You can also cut down on the classroom component to the barest minimum by having most of the material online. By increasing the information being covered in the course, you will be able to cover more, in less time, and could reserve the classroom component to just a Q&A session and discussions of critical content. Think of the savings in time and cost! Now the same approach may not work with a target audience of sales professionals who may not prefer to read much content before a session. In this case, you can present the bare information of the content online and follow it up by multiple face-to-face sessions.
We have seen the benefits of blended learning. But how can you formulate the right learning blend? This presentation gives you an idea of the factors that go into the making of the “ideal” learning blend.
Here are a few guide lines and recommendations for designing your perfect blend.
Thus, by blending learning delivery formats, you can provide comprehensive training to your people and get better value for your training dollar. What do you think? We’d love to hear your views.