A blended learning approach is a great way to create an effective and flexible learning environment. The concept of blending learning was traditionally a mix of Instructor-led Training (ILT) and online web-based training. Now it’s evolved to become much, much more due to mobile accessibility and hectic schedules.
If you are to recognize blended learning as a key design tool that will enable you to create rich learning experiences, make sure that you are harnessing:
- the latest technology for content delivery such as HTML 5– so that content that can be viewed anytime and anywhere via desktop computers, tablets and mobile devices
- a broad mix of media – such as videos, graphically driven links, audio recording, and face-to-face training
- social learning – so users can learn from each other, and collaborate using a vast number of topics driven by the Learning Catalog
- non-linear and continuous learning – instead of static one-off learning events
Your Talent Management System can be the hub from which all these elements seamlessly blend together to create an effective learning solution with engaging topics for each Learner, which will provide better results. The value of a blended learning approach is the ability to diversify the way learners consume information, which can take your thinking beyond a single module or course to create rich learning experiences.
Structure your design with a consideration of the variety of media from which your learners can access content. From traditional eLearning modules, to videos, online articles and podcasts, a wide variety of content types can be hosted on your Talent Management System and structured into an engaging learning journey. Collaboration, or social learning, is another element to include in a blended learning design. This method is particularly valuable if learners are based across different locations or working remotely – scenarios when online learning can sometimes feel lonely.
An intelligent blended learning program can solve the problem of a disconnection which can ultimately affect completion targets. Creating social forums where learners can discuss the content they’re viewing, or consult with subject matter experts, provides a great avenue for learners to collaborate on topics delivered throughout the Course Catalog.
One simple way to eliminate issues with content delivery is to make sure your Talent Management System has the capability to be accessed across a wide range of devices that learners use to consume training. This way your learners can access courses on their own or utilizing company supplied devices.
When learners are presented options to access the Talent Management System, they have the added flexibility to learn on their own time, at their own pace, and anywhere there is access to a wi-fi connection. For example, they can watch videos while traveling or post comments in the forum while waiting in line at a coffee show, for there is always a good time to learn and stay connected.
While the temptation with a blended learning approach might be to take a scattershot approach, a successful blended solution needs intelligent design that constantly engages the learner. Instead of trying to present your learners with a variety of different content to cover all learning preferences, think strategically about the journey you want to take them on. Once the strategic approach is clear, you can then think about breaking down any barriers to access information.
For example, face-to-face training sessions may be a necessary, albeit expensive, part of your solution, because there are learners that absorb information better using this method. Consider the best value you can gain from these types of sessions. Ask yourself what is the critical point at which your learners are going to benefit from some face-to-face learning? This would be driven by the content that is to be delivered.
It may be that you plan a journey of introductory modules, videos, or animations and then give your learners a chance to apply their knowledge via an assessment story. Once they’re feeling confident with the basics, you could schedule a face-to-face training session to tackle some of the complexities of the subject matter. This would allow you to spend more time focusing on any weaknesses revealed in the assessment and survey data from introductory modules.
While considering the strategic value of key touch points of the learning journey, there’s often little chance of escaping the logistical challenges of arranging live sessions. Many Talent Management Systems now have functionality to make planning and resourcing live sessions easier. They are also compatible with virtual classroom software, so group learning is possible wherever learners happen to be.
Your Talent Management System should be the starting point of your blended learning design, so start to utilize this valuable method of learning delivery. Allow the learner the opportunity and flexibility to choose which method to consume content and take some time to fully explore its capabilities so you can leverage them for maximum success.
If you’re preparing to implement a new Learning Management System (LMS), and want to take a blended learning approach, let the experts at HRchitect help guide you through the process. HRchitect can also help you to create an HCM technology strategy to determine how an LMS fits in with your other HCM technology as well as help you to select the system that is right for your organization.