Blends of coffee or blends of learning? It’s hard for us to choose which we love more. In the spirit of being a learning company, we’ll opt for the latter for now.
In this article, we will review what blended learning is and how you can develop a training program for your company.
What is Blended Learning?
Blended Learning, also commonly known as Hybrid Learning or personalized learning, is a concept that brings together traditional and digital learning techniques to create a fully comprehensive program.
Some popular tools used for personalized learning programs include:
- Learning Management System (LMS)
- Augmented Reality
- Virtual Reality
- Video Conferencing (Skype, Zoom, etc.)
- 360º Video
- Discussion Boards and Forums
- Management Tools (Basecamp, Asana, etc.)
- Online File Hosting
- Gamification Programs
Example of a Blended Learning Program
A blended learning program could start with Instructor-Led Learning that allows the students to meet the instructor and each other in one brick-and-mortar location. During that seminar, there can be a Virtual Reality activity that is done in smaller groups. Then the students can be assigned eLearning homework that is hosted on an LMS platform, and the answers can be reviewed on a discussion forum or reviewed through a hosted video.
With a blended learning program, you can leverage the strengths of each form of training — the powerful social learning inherent in ILT; the self-paced control given to learners in eLearning; and the unparalleled engagement in immersive learning. Such an all-encompassing approach helps to deliver the knowledge retention and behavior change your company seeks.
How to Develop a Blended Learning Program
With that, here are the steps to take to develop a blended learning program.
Step 1: Determine That You Really Need a Blended Learning Program
The first action you should take is to ascertain that your learning priorities call for a blended learning program. To execute such a program, you need to be prepared for a lot of planning and moving parts. Initial costs may be high, but the expectation is that a well-developed blended learning program will yield high ROI in the long run.
Are you wondering if your company is ready to make such an investment? Check that your big-picture learning priorities match the overarching benefits of blended learning. Do you seek convenience, increased engagement, and personalized learning? Then your pursuit of blended learning is on point.
Step 2: Match Your Blend of Solutions to Your Learning Needs
Once you’ve decided on the need for a blended learning program, the next step is to figure out what solutions will make up your blend. You should conduct a thorough needs analysis and determine the needs of your audience.
- Is there a need to build your learners’ soft skills? Virtual reality for soft skills training is gaining steam in the industry.
- Do learners need easy-to-access, on-the-job performance support? Augmented reality can help with that.
- Need to empower your busy learners to review knowledge on their own time? You’re in the market for some dynamic eLearning!
The key to arranging a successful blended learning program is to match the nature of the content with the needs of your learners and the strengths of each form of training.
Step 3: Choose a Blended Learning Partner
At this point, you’re ready to find a blended learning partner to bring your vision to life. Consider the solutions you need and look for companies that either specialize in them or offer them as part of their services. If you find a company with experience building comprehensive blended learning programs, that’s even better.
It’s also essential to choose a partner that is reputable and reliable. Consider asking:
- To see their portfolio
- For pricing information upfront
- If they have won any awards for their work
- To see case studies of past projects or a reference list
- If they have any ratings or reviews
In addition, be sure to work out the logistics of the training.
- Do you have the equipment you need to deploy the training to your learners? Think headsets, tablets, smartphones, etc.
- Do you have the space to deploy the training?
Discuss this with your training partners, as they should be able to help you to think through every detail of the project.
Step 4: Project Plan and Get Building!
Once you’ve come to an agreement with a blended learning partner, the time has come to outline the project plan and start building. Depending on the contract with the training partner, your role in this step could be light, medium, or heavy.
Regardless, it’s a good idea to have a certified project manager involved in the process. They will help to ensure boundaries and expectations are set, and they will help to keep the project on track.
Read More: 5 Brilliant People-Management Tools
Step 5: Pilot the Training
The remaining steps are similar for any training project you’re implementing. With an initial build of the program complete, you should perform a pilot test. Run a small pilot group through your blended learning program, watch your timing, what works, what doesn’t, and how the group reacts to your content and technology. Take notes and request tons of feedback from your students.
Don’t despair if you have to make changes; you should expect that. It’s the only way to get better.
Step 6: Fine-Tune and Launch
Review what happened with the pilot and make your updates. Hopefully, you don’t have significant changes, such as updating content or realigning the learning objectives.
Use your notes and your student feedback to update your program. Be sure to leverage your subject matter experts and learning partners.
Step 7: Encourage and Support Your Employees to Complete the Program
Now it’s time to launch your blended learning program! Work with the leaders and influencers of your company to build excitement and to get people enrolled. Build a robust support system to allow employees to take the time and focus on the content you have developed for them, use incentives, and fun promotions to make a big splash!
Step 8: Evaluate Results and Program Effectiveness
After your program has been running, it’s time to measure the results and the effectiveness.
What to look for:
- What is the completion rate?
- Are the learning objectives being retained?
- Are they using what they learned?
Find those critical Key Performance Indicators and use them to measure the success of your program. Don’t be afraid to make updates; it may be necessary to keep up with changing processes, policies, or students’ learning styles.
Try Now: Roundtable Learning’s Training Metrics Calculator
Are You Ready for the Next Step?
We covered what you need to know to launch your own blended learning program. Wondering what a holistic approach to learning can do for your company? Wonder no more! Get started on your blended learning program today.