Professional development should be continual, Learning and Development (L&D) experts and educators say. But how can we stay committed to our learning paths if we are expected to apply our skills and solve problems on a daily basis? And let’s not forget, our lives extend beyond our cubicles.
Learning is rewarding, but it’s not easy.
As an employer who values employee satisfaction, you cannot possibly expect your staff to disturb their hard-earned work-life balance by adding yet another set of tasks to their daily to-do lists. The only thing you can do is motivate them to be better.
Luckily, blended learning boosts motivation and engagement in adult learners. It makes knowledge easily accessible, learning more convenient, and results more rewarding. For these and other reasons, this learning model is widely successful for the new age.
Here’s what it is and why you should adopt it for your employee training program.
What is Blended Learning?
Otherwise known as hybrid learning, the blended approach to knowledge acquisition combines multiple types of educational content, delivery methods, and learning environments. On the one side, it taps into the eLearning environment to make the best use of educational technology, connectivity, online courses, and digital knowledge bases. On the other, blended learning leverages effective traditional learning and teaching methods such as instructor-led training and classroom-based lectures. Its goal, of course, is to take the best of both worlds.
Surpassing all other mediums, the internet provides a foundation for blended learning to create the richest, most convenient and effective experience for students and adult learners.
Challenges of employee training
As adult learners, employees face the same challenges that students do. In addition, they experience a number of obstacles that are exclusive to andragogy. Hectic schedules, for instance.
It’s not only that work and family life leave a little time for learning. Scarcer than time is employees’ energy, focus, and motivation, all of which suffer from daily tasks and workloads.
Ask your employees to stay overtime for training sessions, and you’ll face resistance. And this is not the only challenge for employee training. Learning and Development professionals are finding it exceptionally hard to tackle the following issues of training adult workforce:
- Most companies have dispersed staff and remote teams.
- Learning styles and habits are less flexible in adult age.
- Ready-made training programs are generic and uninspiring.
- Blended learning provides a solution for each of these problems, and here’s how.
1. The Self-Paced Aspect of Blended Learning Online
When training is conducted online rather than face-to-face, employees have a unique chance to create their own learning paths and choose their own learning pace. In other words, they can work around their hectic schedules. And this doesn’t only mean that employees can leverage their peak productivity hours, take courses late at night, and study their educational content during lunch breaks.
More importantly, the self-paced aspect of blended learning online allows for special approaches such as microlearning and mLearning, as well as interactive content.
Equipped with mobile-responsive courses, bite-sized chunks of information, and educational videos, infographics, and gifs, employees can manage their time, energy, and focus.
2. Blended Learning is available Anytime, Anywhere
The 24/7 availability of blended learning solves a number of different problems in modern-day employee training. A decentralized workforce is only one of them.
Conducting in-house training in a company that employs stay-at-home workers makes no sense. Courses created with eLearning software tools provide the only viable solution, given that they make educational content available not only anytime, but also anywhere.
Being designed with remote teams in mind, these tools also come with a host of features for social learning and collaboration, such as online discussion boards, video conferences, and webinars.
The same capabilities can be useful to your in-house employees as well, especially if they thrive in social environments and prefer to train in a group rather than alone.
3. eLearning software tools help personalize learning
Speaking of your employees’ training preferences, you must also take into consideration that every person approaches knowledge acquisition in a highly unique way. Differences do not occur only in learning styles and habits – they can be surprisingly big in terms of intellectual abilities and personal interests as well. This means that your training program must cater to many individuals at the same time.
Blended learning software tools have a solution for this too, as they allow you to conduct a thorough needs analysis and learn individual preferences of every employee. Using this insight, you can create a custom training program – personalizing content and delivery methods alike – and make it more suitable for many different types of learners.
4. Online courses boost engagement and retention
Blended learning online enables other innovative training approaches besides mLearning, microlearning, and social learning. This is why we call it hybrid in the first place – it incorporates a wide range of different content types and delivery methods, including exciting new techniques such as gamification.
Diverse and convenient at the same time, blended learning has great potential for boosting engagement and increasing retention rates. In fact, eLearning alone does that by 25-60%. Combine that with the most effective practices from the offline learning environment, and you have a training program that exceeds employees’ expectations every time.
Blended learning offers employee training opportunities that are convenient, personalized, and engaging enough to solve the biggest problems in adult learning and professional development. In addition, it helps increase revenue by 42%. Achievement is the best incentive, and that’s exactly how blended training can contribute to your employee satisfaction and Learning and Development, consequently boosting the overall growth of your business.