Online learning is a convenient way for you to manage corporate training. However, you may want to offer in-person training as well. Blended learning is an ideal and popular alternative to strictly in-person or online training. There are many benefits to blended learning.
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What Is Blended Learning?
Blended learning is also called hybrid learning, meaning your corporate training is a mix of being online and onsite. The training can be synchronous and given simultaneously for all team members or asynchronous and available at whatever time instruction is convenient for the individual. Training that incorporates online instruction with live in-person or virtual instruction is called blended learning.
For blended learning, an instructor can use many approaches, including collaborative, self-paced, traditional classroom instruction, and trainer-support learning. For corporate training, your business can offer virtual instructor-led training (VILT). VILT allows teams to provide team members with synchronous learning. Self-paced and on-demand learning with asynchronous learning is useful as well.
Top Benefits of Blended Learning in Corporate Training
Flexibility of Scheduling
One of the benefits of blended learning is the flexibility it gives your employees in their training content. You can present information in a classroom where you can offer explanations and answer questions as you present the materials. With an online learning section, you can include multimedia, such as video, audio, or web links to supplement your presentations. Employee online instruction and learning allow for flexible scheduling both for you and those you train, making this a valuable advantage to this kind of education.
With blended learning for employees, you are not tied to always meeting in person and delivering instruction at the same time. Instead, you can allow learners to pick their own times to learn. Hybrid training for your employees frees up time and saves you the hassle of booking rooms and equipment for multiple meetings.
Without the problems of where to hold a training session or having to haul around equipment, blended implementation of corporate training has fewer logistics problems and is easier to implement. Be aware that the primary shortcoming of a blended training and learning approach is the absence of an instructor, which can sometimes result in poor learner engagement levels. Speaking with learners during blended online learning about their progress can help keep people involved during learning and help you assess who understands the training materials and who needs help with blended instruction.
Increased Knowledge and Skills
Instructor-led synchronous learning has benefits and is useful, but it does not have the flexibility of online, asynchronous learning. While immediate question-and-answer learning sessions are beneficial for learner instruction, this format cannot keep pace with the ever-changing technologies in your field or give your employees a robust instruction environment.
The online learning part of your instruction efforts can give learners multimedia support with videos, audio, hyperlinks, and access to more information than an onsite instruction and learning environment can provide. Furthermore, you can more easily update the online portion of corporate instruction with current information for your market and your company. This aspect of blended learning helps keep your employees up to date with what they need to know for their work.
Increased Employee Productivity
Other benefits of a blended learning approach are found in increased productivity. When you invest in training and learning, you invest in employee productivity. Learning helps your employees to gain better, more up-to-date skills, allowing them to be more efficient in their work and leading to higher productivity levels for your business.
Understanding new technologies, refreshing current skills, and new skill reinforcement are all necessary for employees to remain competent and productive. The market for your business changes with consumer preferences and market competition, all of which requires continuous learning. Without employee training, you lose your edge in employee productivity and fall behind in competition against other companies. Keeping up with training via blended learning and other strategies gives you an edge for success in your market.
Better Employee Retention
When employees have blended learning training, they are more productive, and their career thrives. Employees with thriving careers are more likely to stay with your company because they have a career path within your organization.
Offering flexible training and learning for your employees shows you value their contributions to your business and want to invest in them as people. Your employees need purpose beyond the paycheck, such as goals, the personal investment the company takes for each employee in training, and having a satisfying career path to work toward from their present role.
How To Incorporate Blended Learning into Corporate Training
There are clear benefits to blended learning, but how do you incorporate blended learning into corporate training? A blended learning approach for your employees is not difficult when you take the right steps. How you approach learning makes a difference in how effective your instruction is for your employees. Some suggestions for effective learning and training are:
Avoid Bias and Legal Issues
Before implementing your training materials, have a lawyer review the materials for sensitive issues such as race, gender, religion, and other issues that could cause problems. Consult your HR manual and current employment laws for guidance. Get feedback from your employees about issues they see as problematic.
Communicate With Your Employees
For effective learning, you need to communicate to your employees why your blended learning program will help them. While you may have mandated safety training for your business, you will also benefit from promoting learning that will make it easier for your employees to advance at your company and develop useful skills during the learning process. Then, listen to your employees’ feedback about the training and learning materials.
Consider Your Audience
When you prepare your learning materials, you need to understand your audience. The age of your employees, their learning styles, and their specific learning needs are essential to delivering effective blended learning instruction.
Your employees may have preferences about how you deliver instruction. Some employees may feel more comfortable with onsite instruction, while others learn better with online instruction. Surveying employees about their learning preferences can help you deliver effective instruction with blended learning.
Have Clear Learning Outcomes
Be aware of the best learning outcomes and practices in your field. Know the materials thoroughly before you implement any training modules or lessons. Your choice of learning formats, online or onsite, must be easy for you to achieve. This includes the logistics of delivering the instruction materials, such as having meeting space and the capacity to deliver online instruction to all your employees.
Make Continuous Learning Available
Know that learning is a continuous process, not a “one-and-done.” Attend training seminars and conventions to keep up with what is current. Read trade magazines and network with others, including your employees, to be aware of new trends in your field.
Delivering effective blended learning is an essential part of productivity in your business. Understanding your audience, having clear learning outcomes, and having continuous learning available for your employees can make your business stronger and more competitive.