3 Steps to Transition to Blended Learning
Blended learning includes a strategic mix of online and face-to-face experiences. It can reduce your training costs, help you reach a wider audience, and more importantly, learners love the collaboration and online access.
Towards Maturity’s 2016 report, The Consumer Learner at Work, reveals:
- Active consumers of learning want to access it when and where they need it
- 70 percent like technologies that allow them to network and connect with others
- 90 percent download apps for learning (50 percent education and 49 percent productivity tools)
You might ask, “Can’t I just take my current training and put it online?” Yes, but to deliver learning experiences, not just content, a small redesign might be more effective. Here are a few easy steps to start your blended approach.
Step 1. Analyze: Top-down
Start with the business and performance goals your training needs to target. This analysis will ensure that your current learning strategies and content align with your goals. Without looking at your content, ask yourself:
- What is the goal? This might include a reduction in errors, increased sales, and better staff retention. Try to make this SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.
- To achieve the goal, what do learners need?
- How can learners show they are meeting the goal?
Map out the different actions (not the knowledge) needed by the range of individuals – from team members to managers. Once you know the actions, you can identify what knowledge learners need to help them perform those actions. Focus on the outcome and eliminate anything that doesn’t link back to the goal. Renowned training designer, Cathy Moore, calls this approach “action mapping.”
Step 2. Analyze: Bottom-up
Next, pin down the elements of your current training that work well and why. Look at what learners find challenging, your objectives, expertise,and content.
Analyze the components needed, such as:
- Discovery activity: Learners uncover something.
- Practice activity: Learners take part in an activity on their own, in pairs or groups.
- Demonstration: Learners walk through the ‘how.’
- Case study: Learners analyze and learn a skill from a relevant example.
- Tutorial: Learners talk through a process or a theory.
- Story-sharing: Learners and trainer share stories and examples (which can happen during breaks too.)
- Collaboration: People work together.
- Myth-busters: Debunking common misconceptions or revealing surprising facts.
- Assessment: Assess learners’ ability to apply the skill.
- Observation: Learners demonstrate the skill in action.
E-learning can deliver most of these components and this list should help you work out what your learning can achieve. You might find you need something extra –social learning, a film, animation, or infographic – to fill in any gaps.
Step 3. Embrace all learning channels
For a true blended approach to learning, look at all the channels available to your organization, as well as to your learners.
Do this purely as a listing exercise. For example:
- Mobile learning
- Discussion forums (in a learning management system)
- Virtual classroom
- Film production
- Viewing capability
- Virtual tutoring
Once you’ve objectively gathered all this information, you’re ready to start putting the elements together to design a fit-for-purpose learning journey.
A blended learning approach requires the adoption of new learning technology. You will need an authoring tool, and possibly an LMS to create and manage your online learning material.
Steve Penfold is Customer Success Director at Elucidat.