A recent report has found that online learning is more popular than ever, with 70% of 2,000 respondents saying they saw a positive impact on their job performance and self-development. But the report also says that corporate learning is “wildly out of sync” with how people prefer to learn. Tapping into the ways people prefer to learn is a winning strategy for organizations, leading to higher take-up, more engagement, and better, longer-lasting results for individuals and their organisation.
Online learning is popular with learners because it breaks down the barriers of traditional classrooms, giving on-the-go flexibility anywhere, any time. Modern learners want blended learning.
People want instant access, whenever they have time from wherever they are, but they also want flexibility. And, while learners are more likely to use personal smartphones (70%) and tablets (52%) for e-learning, they still want a mix of learning styles including face-to-face contact. Many universities offer blended learning with face-to-face classes or, where blended learning is not possible, online classes and interactive forums for student interaction. All organizations can incorporate this sort of flexibility into their training. This allows learners to interact with each other, deepen their understanding of the learning, and receive valuable learning with lessons that stick.
Technology offers organizations unique opportunities to create their own training in house tailored to meet employee and corporate needs. Corporate trainers can design courses using a mix of face-to-face learning and e-learning. Authoring tools make it fast and simple to create on demand, mobile-friendly learning that is engaging and challenging.
Blended learning best practices
Determining what learning you want to keep face-to-face and what learning to move online can be tricky. Often the decision comes down to whether a piece of content is a soft skill (e.g., people handling, which has lots of grey areas) or not (e.g., learning how to use a piece of machinery).
Alternatively, you can try a flipped learning approach. In a flipped approach, the learners essentially teach themselves how to do something via e-learning, online readings or activities. Then they meet with an expert to practice the finer points. This approach uses the expert’s experience and expertise.
By taking the best attributes of both face-to-face and online learning and applying them in ways that maximize their respective benefits, learners can be more engaged and learn more in less time.
For example, imagine a traditional one-day workshop for managers. The problem with this training model is that it takes managers away from their desk for a full day. Typically, two hours are used to bring participants up to speed with the terminology and background knowledge, and then the rest of the day is taken up with hypothetical situations.
A blended approach to this same event would see the managers learning all of the terminology and background knowledge via e-learning before attending the workshop, effectively preventing them from having to block off a full day for training.