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Today's workforce is made up of 35% Millennials, with Gen Xers in a close second, Post-Millennials starting to get their wings, and Baby Boomers' employment slowly dwindling. It is definitely one of the most diverse labor pools in history, and this calls for a very flexible approach to employee training. While Millenials and those born since are tech-savvy from an early age, generations born before 1985 continue to use more classical learning models.
Classroom-based learning and ILT (instructor-led training) are still widely used. But, with the advent of eLearning, companies are seeing fit to combine these two elements of continuing education. This teaching method has been termed blended learning. Blended learning refers to the practice of combining traditional classroom-based courses with online training. This means that learners will have an instructor and meet in person some of the time, and other times they will take on a more self-directed approach by using online learning tools.
Simply stated, blended learning is a fusion between traditional and online learning. But, the methods for delivery are varied and depend on each company's business goals and learner needs. Needless to say, when developing a blended learning training course, make sure you take into consideration the needs of your employees, their skill and knowledge levels, as well as the objectives you have set up for your business growth. These should always go hand in hand for the most efficient outcomes to occur.
It can be easy to purchase an off-the-shelf blended learning module. There are tons of vendors and free resources out there. However, your best option is to start off with an in-house survey to see what employees think of the idea of blended learning. Their feedback will guide you in the right direction. You'll gain an understanding of what types of eLearning and classroom-based teaching techniques to best combine in your blended learning training course. Still, the question remains: What are the benefits of a blended learning employee training curriculum?
A well-designed blended learning training course helps employees reach their learning potential. This, in turn, has a domino effect on your whole organization. The higher the number of employees that engage in efficient professional development, the more your business will thrive. Meeting business goals as well as employee learning needs should be high on your training course design 'to do' list.
Mixing in-person with online education delivery methods will go a long way in helping learners retain more of what they have learned. Because you offer employees the chance to learn on their own time, practice what they've learned on the job, and ask subsequent questions in a live setting, what they learn enters their long-term memory easier.
The online portion of the course will allow for immediate on-the-job application of newly acquired skills and knowledge.
Nothing can exist in a vacuum. Therefore, presenting a healthy balance of social learning and computer-based learning can yield the best results.
Blended learning can be cost-effective, depending on the modules and the variety of delivery methods you choose. As usual, less is more. So, keep it simple and make sure the content contained in the training course can be easily digested by most employees.
See also: P&G Blended Learning Training Solution
Your first step in creating an efficient blended learning course is surveying your workforce. Find out what they think about this type of learning, what their technical preferences are, and what skill/knowledge level they are at.
Finding out what employees need to learn is a great strategy. But, keep in mind that your business should grow too. Write out your business targets and find ways of aligning these with employee learning objectives. This type of synergy creates a win-win result where everyone is happy with what they are getting.
Make sure to streamline the classroom and online content. You'll want your lectures or classroom deliverables to be backed by the online portion of the course. The eLearning part should focus on testing the learner's knowledge of what they learned in class.
People learn better if they care about what and why they are learning. Creating an emotional connection between the course content and desired learning outcomes is key.
Blended learning is super efficient because it gives a two-fold benefit when it comes to feedback and support. Learners can get feedback from face-to-face interaction with trainers and peers, plus they can instantly get it following online instruction and testing. The same goes for support. Employees might have questions they can bring up in class. Also, the online part of the course could offer extended resources for gaining an in-depth understanding of a particular subject.