Blended learning, which is a mode of training that combines online learning with live, instructor-led training, can be very effective. It drives skills acquisition and knowledge retention1, and it decreases the cost of training.2 Also, it can increase employee satisfaction with training, as most workers are partial to a hybrid approach to learning. The Future of Learning at Work3 stated, “Today’s worker wants less formal, structured presentations and an increased focus on blended learning channels such as video, e-learning, face-to-face interaction, and coaching.”
Many companies use either instructor-led training or online learning as their primary method of employee training. By blending both types of education, you can create hybrid training experiences that satisfy learners and promote better training outcomes.
3 Ideas for Successfully Blending Online Learning with Classroom Training
Ready to create a blended learning course or program that will benefit your employees? Here are some ideas to get you started:
1. Offer online training breaks during classroom learning sessions
To blend online learning with instructor-led training, have learners take a short break to engage in a computer-based learning activity. Mobile learning enables workers to access eLearning from any device with a web browser and Internet access. A digital learning break could be taken once or twice during an instructor-led training session and would give employees a chance to catch their breath after a lecture and review what they’ve just learned.
A couple of eLearning activities that learners could participate in during class include reading succinct articles or blog posts and watching short videos. For example, if sales staff are being lectured on resolving conflict with customers, taking a break to watch a video that demonstrates various styles of conflict resolution will be helpful.
2. Ensure that employees are putting their new skills to use directly after online training
An easy way to seamlessly blend online learning with instructor-led training is by giving workers opportunities to use their new skills soon after completing an online course or module. Doing so creates a natural flow from online training to in-person training and helps employees perfect the skills they have learned online.
For example, if an employee has just completed an eLearning course on interviewing skills, they should interview a peer or manager. Don’t forget to have the interviewee provide feedback. This activity gives the learner a chance to engage in hybrid training via gleaning new skills online and then practicing them on the job.
3. Have instructors deliver personalized mobile training activities after an in-person class
Reinforcing information learned in a live classroom setting is key to improving knowledge retention. To strengthen knowledge while blending online learning with in-person training, have live instructors deliver personalized training activities to learners after class. These online activities might include quizzes, games, and assessments, and would ideally be provided to learners’ mobile devices for easy access.
For best results, employees should complete each activity in an appropriate time frame. For example, if learners took part in a compliance training session that included more facts and figures than concepts, learners should access their online activity a few hours after the training. This will help increase retention of minute details. If the topic addressed was more conceptual, it may be more useful to have learners participate in the eLearning activity 24 hours after the class.
Blend eLearning with Instructor-Led Training Using These LMS Features
Blended learning can be hugely beneficial to an enterprise. It not only improves skills acquisition and knowledge retention, but it also increases learner engagement and productivity.4 To create effective hybrid training, utilize LMS features such as learning paths, social learning tools, virtual classrooms, and learning analytics and reporting.