4 Recommended Strategies To Create A Successful Hybrid Learning Environment
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Hybrid learning, also known as blended learning, is a learning experience that combines multiple learning modalities into one training program. This is a great way to combine self-paced, asynchronous activities with in-person, synchronous learning.
To create a successful hybrid learning environment, organizations should consider the following 4 strategies:
- Take Inventory Of Your Existing Learning Assets
- Understand Your Employees’ Learning Preferences
- Create A Culture Of Accountability
- Ensure The Asynchronous Learning Is Relevant And Applicable
While in-person learning is the preferred style for some employees, not everyone thrives in this scheduled, traditional learning environment. In fact, 85% of employees want to be able to choose training times that fit their schedule.
A hybrid learning model helps organizations provide the best of both worlds by combining individual, self-paced learning with in-person learning.
At Roundtable Learning, our learning and development experts know what it takes to build a successful hybrid learning program. Every day, we’re tasked with developing effective learning solutions that successfully meet the evolving needs of organizations and their learners.
This article will define hybrid learning, provide key benefits of hybrid learning, and discuss 4 recommended strategies for creating a successful hybrid learning environment.
What Is Hybrid Learning?
Hybrid learning, also known as blended learning, is a learning experience that combines multiple learning modalities into one training program. This is a great way to combine self-paced, asynchronous activities (e.g., eLearning, reading articles, videos) with in-person, synchronous learning activities typically held through instructor-led training (ILT) or virtual instructor-led training (VILT).
The hybrid learning model isn’t limited to full in-person instruction or full virtual instruction, but rather blends both styles. Hybrid learning bridges the gap between in-person classroom instruction and self-paced, asynchronous learning to create a comprehensive training program for all learning styles and to keep up with ever-evolving work environments.
What Are The Benefits Of Hybrid Learning?
- Increases the flexibility of learning – A significant benefit to hybrid learning is that it offers more flexibility regarding time, content, and language.
- For example, asynchronous learning activities allow learners to complete the training when convenient for them and do not interfere with other job duties.
- Leverages existing training resources – Hybrid learning allows organizations to repurpose existing training assets to re-imagine their existing assets for a hybrid training program.
- For example, Suppose an organization has traditionally used a weeklong in-person training program for its new leaders, but the organization can no longer support that model. The organization could repurpose some of the existing content into several different experiences (e-learning module, self-reflection) and still present some of the material in an instructor-led format, substituting shorter VILT sessions for a weeklong face-to-face session.
- Provides a richer synchronous learning experience – Well-structured hybrid learning provides a richer synchronous learning experience.
- For example, organizations can assign learners an asynchronous learning activity (e.g., reading relevant articles) prior to their synchronous learning session. This structure allows the synchronous learning activity to be more discussion-based and engaging because learners come to the session ready to engage in the learning material.
- Cost and time-effective – Hybrid learning can be a cost-effective training method. By presenting information via less costly modalities and reserving the use of instructor-led training for discussion between participants, organizations can capture the benefits of face-to-face learning, while still realizing the cost and time savings of digital and self-paced learning.
4 Recommended Strategies To Create A Successful Hybrid Learning Environment
While hybrid learning is highly context-based, on a high level, there are several steps we recommend that your organization takes to ensure success.
1. Take Inventory Of Existing Learning Assets
Suppose your organization is looking to adopt a hybrid learning approach. In that case, one of the first steps we recommend is to take inventory of all of your existing learning assets (e.g., slides, modules, performance support materials) and determine the following:
- Which learning activities are most successful?
- Which training topics and learning activities are most important to learners’ success?
- Which activities have the highest engagement levels among learners?
Once your organization determines which learning assets are most important to your training, you should sort through which topics are best suited for self-paced learning vs. synchronous, in-person learning.
2. Understand Your Employees’ Learning Preferences
To succeed, hybrid learning needs to be highly contextualized to the needs of learners and the specific learning situation. It’s critical to keep your learners’ preferences in mind when developing synchronous and asynchronous learning activities.
To discover your employees’ learning preferences, we recommend that your organization:
- Evaluates training data to see which programs received the highest positive rating
- Sends out surveys to gain current insight into employees’ preferences
- Reviews past training sessions to see which had the highest participation rate
Perhaps your learners prefer eLearning for the asynchronous learning portion of the training, or they may prefer reading educational articles and receiving printable job aids. Either way, it’s critical to understand their preferences to ensure they’re motivated to complete their asynchronous learning.
3. Create A Culture Of Accountability
In a hybrid learning environment, employees are typically asked to complete a self-paced, independent learning activity. Whether it’s reading articles, watching videos, or writing in a learning journal, employees are responsible for completing learning activities on their own time prior to the instructor-led, synchronous session.
Imagine the following scenario. Prior to a training session, learners must complete a short reading that previews key concepts that will be discussed in a group. If only half of the learners have completed the reading, it will be difficult for participants to have a meaningful conversation.
To prevent this from happening, organizations can create a culture of accountability by:
- Tracking completion of pre-work
- Sending out communication that promotes the relevance of the pre-work to participants’ job function
- Engaging leadership and asking them to communicate with participants
Every learner must commit to completing the asynchronous portion of training, or else your organization will lose value in the synchronous learning activity.
4. Ensure The Asynchronous Learning Is Relevant And Applicable
Your organization needs to make asynchronous learning relevant and applicable to their roles to keep your learners motivated and encourage them to complete their self-paced learning.
For example, a broader article on leadership styles may not be as beneficial as a more job-specific article with key, actionable takeaways for a team leader to walk away with. This way, you avoid wasting your learners’ time and energy by giving them highly applicable learning materials that relate to their role. The same applies to other asynchronous materials, such as watching short videos and writing on message boards.
You can measure the relevance and applicability of your asynchronous activities by examining whether or not your learners are able to apply what they’ve learned to their roles right away.
Are You Ready To Adopt A Hybrid Learning Model?
This article defined hybrid learning, provided key benefits, and discussed 4 recommended strategies for creating a successful hybrid learning environment. We hope you can get started with your hybrid learning program today.