For the past several months, we’ve gone over several different training methods. We’ve discussed their advantages and disadvantages while emphasizing the need to use any or all of them in a blended approach to maximize your training efforts. In today’s Advisor, we’ll discuss how to put it all together.
Blended learning is a commonsense concept that results in great learning success. The blended learning approach is simply acknowledging that one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to training. In a nutshell, blended learning means using more than one training method to train on one subject.
This approach works well because the variety of approaches keeps trainers and trainees engaged in training. Blended learning simply makes a lot of sense. Consider the many factors that affect training:
- Subject matter
- Audience makeup
- Types of learners
- Budget considerations
- Space constraints
- Compliance issues
Any or all of these considerations affect your choices for training and may even necessitate that you use a blended learning approach.
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Chances are you already use this method, perhaps without even realizing it. Have you ever:
- Used a PowerPoint® training session and incorporated written quizzes, small group discussions, and role plays at various points in the training?
- Broken a complex subject into parts and used a different training method to teach each section or step?
- Used a live trainer with hands-on demonstrations for initial training and a CD or online course for refresher training?
If you have done any of the above methods, you are already using a blended learning approach.
Here’s how to plan a blended learning training program. Once you’ve identified training needs, answer these questions about each situation:
- What are the training conditions?
- Do you have a classroom? How many people will it hold?
- How many computers do you have access to?
- What resources are available?
- What are the characteristics of the training content? Is it soft or hard?
- Who is your target audience?
- What are its demographics?
- How many languages do you need to accommodate? Which ones?
- How many employees need this training?
- How quickly do you need to accomplish this training?
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Your answers will direct you to the optimal delivery method. However time-consuming this process may seem, blended learning offers trainees a well-planned session that is custom designed for them, the subject, and the learning environment. In the long run, blended learning saves time and money since this training process is an efficient use of resources to help employees develop sufficient levels of knowledge retention.
Why It Matters
- A University of Tennessee study showed that a blended learning program reduced both the time and the cost of training by more than 50 percent.
- The same study showed a 10 percent improved result in learning outcomes compared with traditional training.
- Learning experts believe that a big advantage of blended learning is that it more closely replicates how people actually learn on the job, through experience and interaction with coworkers.