Blended learning is fast becoming a popular training approach for companies of all sizes. Not only is awareness and conversation around the concept increasing, but training hours being delivered by blended learning are on the rise, according to elearningindustry.com. Whether you want to offer an environmental hazards course or to train an incoming cohort of new employees, a blended learning approach is often the most effective way to equip employees with important information and skills.
Perhaps the greatest benefit of online training is that it is user-friendly and offers greater convenience and flexibility to individual employees. Many people like to learn online first thing in the morning, for example, while others prefer to schedule it on breaks or after work. Some are more comfortable working online at night when the house is quiet. Whatever an employee’s schedule or learning environment preferences, a blended approach provides the opportunity to learn at one’s own place, time, and speed.
An e-learning approach to training offers flexible scheduling options for employees at all levels of an organization. No matter what shift or how many hours personnel are scheduled, blended learning facilitates training opportunities so that every employee can complete a module or program in a timely manner.
Online training costs less than live training sessions. Sending employees to offsite locations for training can be costly. Bringing in an experienced trainer can also be pricey. Added to these expenses is employee time lost to training sessions. Training facility rental, materials and supplies, meals, and other supplemental costs can raise the price even more. If substitute employees are hired to cover trainees’ workload, costs may skyrocket. Altogether, this approach can be prohibitively expensive.
Blended training offers a dual approach. It may utilize special training resources at the company or from outside, but it also includes an online component that is often less expensive, based on number of participants and program complexity. Without the costs listed above, employees can be trained in a way that fits within the company’s budget, which makes it more likely that management will provide necessary training and possible updates.
Training objectives offered online typically include a range of teaching techniques with wide appeal for a variety of learning styles. Visual appeal can be enhanced with many kinds of multimedia designs. Interactive sessions allow employees to take an active learning approach by engaging in activities such as role play and even gaming. Audio options add a lifelike quality to training engagement. Webcasts, podcasts, and a host of other media provide a well-rounded training experience to hook employee interest and facilitate objective mastery.
Provides management feedback
As employees complete training programs, management can immediately view test scores and other data. Scores can be compiled, averaged, and compared for managerial decision-making. Factors like the amount of time an employee needs to complete a module, or the number of retakes they require, can also inform managers about employee capabilities and limitations as well as training programs’ difficulty levels, all of which can be difficult to assess in a live training classroom.
Many training programs allow employees to make mistakes and offer second chances to master objectives. Some programs provide several opportunities to demonstrate mastery. Since everyone learns at a different pace, this can be a wonderful strategy to build employee confidence and encourage perseverance while ensuring that specific learning outcomes are met. In a live classroom, participants may hesitate to speak up, and if they give the wrong answer, they often don’t want to speak up again. A computer training program removes the embarrassment of making mistakes and reinforces the benefits of continuing to work toward specific goals.
Trainers offer a wide range of programs that are usually tailored to similar large groups of employees. Although learning outcomes are endorsed by an organization, they may be somewhat generalized in order to appeal to a large target audience of trainees. Blended training typically includes a trainer, who prefaces training modules before assigning trainees online modules to complete.
Training modules sometimes can be adjusted to best meet the learning needs of a specific group of trainees. That’s another benefit of online learning: It can be easy to tweak, or it may be offered in several formats that work closely with company training goals. Programs for special-needs employees or those with disabilities are often available as well, including close-captioned videos or online charted demonstrations that enable everyone to learn the same material.
Blended training provides a hybrid approach to helping employees meet critical learning objectives. Coordinating onsite trainers with online activities to help employees master objectives is the perfect way to provide meaningful and successful training to today’s technically oriented workforce.
For more smart employee training strategies, see Using Data To Improve Employee Training.