Blended learning offers the convenience and flexibility of online learning, with the personalization and real-world application of in-person training. It affords you the benefits of improving target audience engagement, increasing retention, as well as reducing churn, increasing revenue, and contributing to the growth of your company.
When implemented properly, blended learning can be the key to better-skilled employees, happier customers, and more productive channel partners.
What is Blended Learning in the Workplace?
Blended learning in business is learner-centric and informal, with a focus on training skills. The learning is conducted using traditional face-to-face methods, as well as online training courses to provide learners with a deep understanding of the material.
Business or training managers oversee the training similar to how a professor would oversee the studies and course materials in an academic setting. They are there to fill in the content gaps and supplement the training.
Benefits of Blended Learning for the Learner
There are many benefits of blended learning. Learners have the flexibility of being able to access training materials on their own time and schedule, regardless of geographical location and time zone. This is a major advantage, especially for companies with a global workforce. The online side enables learners to learn at their own pace to truly engage in the course activities, absorb the material, and apply the skills and knowledge acquired when working in their role.
The in-person side of blended learning enables collaboration between team members to help with brainstorming ideas, sharing feedback, and fostering a positive work culture. Face-to-face training can also offer more personalized experiences as trainers can connect with the learners in a physical location to offer hands-on training and foster participation.
A healthy mix of both will ensure your learners are receiving training that is most effective for their learning style and the topics covered.
Business Benefits of Blended Learning
The benefits of blended learning are not restricted solely to the learner, there are advantages for the business as well. Blended learning reduces training costs by minimizing the time trainers spend conducting live training. As more of the training program is moved to an online setting, content maintenance becomes easier. For example, instead of having to conduct a new training session each time a process is changed, trainers can simply update the online content in real time. The result–employees are always up-to-date on training materials, and trainers can dedicate more attention to scaling the training program, and focusing more strategically on the initiative.
Blended learning also gives the business the ability to track online course engagement and assessment scores. Correlating these metrics with work performance can provide valuable insights into knowledge transfer and how your training impacted your employees’ skill development.
Another great benefit of blended learning is that it enables trainers and instructional designers to create a curriculum using various tools and mediums, such as slide decks, digital guides, videos, interactive modules, and more. This creates a more diversified and comprehensible learning experience that helps learners efficiently absorb and retain information.
Blending Learning Best Practices
There are many ways to optimize your blended learning program. Below are tips and strategies that consolidate best practices for both in-person and online training. Blended learning requires that both areas of your program be properly woven to create an immersive learning experience that is seamless and meaningful for your learners.
- Develop your learner personas. Conduct research and document who your target audience is, what they care about, and how they like to learn. This is the best and only way to create highly relevant content that captures the attention of your learners.
- Prepare the learner by setting expectations with course objectives. Ensure your training meets the learning goals you set forth and enables your team to achieve business outcomes. Create a seamless connection between the in-person training and the online training to develop a comprehensive learning experience.
- Make the best use of each training environment. There will be some topics that are best covered during in-person sessions, while others can be covered asynchronously in an online setting. Planning your curriculum in advance will help you align your training to each delivery method.
- Always be improving. Analyze your online course metrics, review quiz scores, and read learner feedback on your training program. Creating a training program that is tailor-made for your audience requires that you continually learn from them. Monitor their engagement and feedback and incorporate your takeaways in future iterations of your blended training program.
You likely have an existing in-person training program in place. Take the appropriate steps to incorporate an online component to your initiative and reshape the program accordingly. Consider using a learning management system (LMS) that enables you to pull different types of media together to create a fully integrated online learning experience. The right LMS should allow you to balance your online and offline efforts, and enable you to leverage training to achieve larger business goals.