Is Blended Learning in Corporate Training Good or Bad?

Blended learning is no longer a buzzword. It was for over decade, after the American Society for Training and Development identified it as one of the top 10 trends to emerge in the knowledge-delivery industry back in 2003.

Today, blended learning has become the prevalent approach used in corporate training worldwide. This trend is driven by the growing need to provide training to an ever-increasing number of employees while keeping to a limited budget.

The definition of blended learning has also evolved from a simple mix-and-match of classroom training and eLearning courses to more complex programs, but the goal is still the same: to motivate and empower the learner to acquire new knowledge, improve his or her performance at work, and ultimately boost business results.

Does blended learning really deliver on its promise to create effective training in a digital age? And should you use this approach in your corporate training strategy? In this article, we will help you answer these critical answers by examining the benefits of blended learning when applied in the right way.

But first, let’s explore what blended learning really is.

What Is Blended Learning

In its most fundamental form, the blended learning approach is about using technology as an enabler to improve the learning experience for both the learner and the instructor.

This approach is applied by mixing face-to-face instruction with eLearning tools in order to create engaging and effective learning experiences.

As an example, the trainer could send reading material to the employees over the company’s learning management system (if available), or over open source web applications like Google Drive. This allows the employees to learn the material at their own time and request support as needed. After that, face-to-face training becomes more effective since not only does it provide reinforcement of the online learning, but it also uses precious time to tackle more complex scenarios now that the employees have already learned the basic information online.

Benefits of Blended Learning

1. Flexible Learning Design

The mixing of offline and online instruction in blended learning allows the instructor to take full advantage of the best that both strategies can offer. This exercise of mix-and-match also offers the required flexibility to fine tune the course based on the learners’ needs.

The company should give careful thought into which technology it will make available. If the training facilitators and the employees do not know how to use the eLearning tools provided, then the company will not see the results it is hoping for.

Hence, it is important to choose the right mix of tools and techniques and not opt for the easier or cheaper option. True, the initial cost of setting up the technology might be high, but keep in mind that this short-term expense will be eventually covered up with the boosted business performance that the effective training will generate.

2. Reduced Training Costs

The benefit that makes many corporations seriously consider blended learning is the reduced training costs. Travel expenses, training space, instructor fees, and material costs are all significantly reduced when blended learning is applied without compromising the quality of the training itself. Actually, when implemented properly, this approach can make companies benefit from improved and efficient employee performance, which will be eventually reflected in the company’s bottom line.

One example is provided by Ernst & Young, one of the world’s biggest audit and professional service firms. By using eLearning, the company reduced its training costs by 35% while improving consistency and scalability.

British Airways also announced that shifting parts of its training online reduced its overall training costs by £1.1m over 3 years. In fact, a 2011 study by Towards Maturity shows that organizations reported cost savings of 26% on average through the use of eLearning.

3. Greater Knowledge Retention

Blended learning for corporate training can profoundly impact the company’s business results. With its combination of rich media formats, well-thought instructional designs, face-to-face interaction, and timely feedback, blended learning provides trainees with a very rich learning experience that can increase their knowledge retention, and thus refine their skills and improve their performance on the job.

4. Training that Doesn’t Affect Busy Schedules

Employees have busy schedules. They need to meet the ever-increasing expectation levels of upper management, reach high business targets, and still find time to improve their skills.

With blended learning—and eLearning in general—employees are in control of their learning. They can learn at their own pace and still do their work properly.

5. Personalized Training Experience

Having the training material readily available online allows employees to identify which skills they want to develop and pick the relevant eLearning training material. This can be followed by a face-to-face interaction with the training facilitator, who can provide personalized feedback.

So, instead of spending hours in a training session listening to issues raised by other colleagues that are not relevant to the other participants, the employee can go online and find the relevant information that will help improve his or her performance.

6. Easy and Practical Tracking of Employee Performance and Progress

Using blended learning for training provides corporations with multiple channels to easily and conveniently collect valuable data about their employees’ performance.

Online assessments is one popular way to gain insight on employees’ skill development. Other options include using the company’s learning management system, if available, which itself can generate automated reports.

Being able to collect and analyze these data can help organizations better evaluate their training programs, identify which methods are most effective, which activities generate highest employee engagement, and which parts of the training need to be modified to meet the learning objectives.

 

 

How to Shift eLearning from Boring to Engaging: 4 Simple Steps

How to shift elearning from boring to engaging

The eLearning industry is growing at exploding rates with the bright promise of making the learning process an engaging experience. However, reality is a slap in the face. eLearning doesn’t exactly scream excitement to employees, and people often describe eLearning as lipstick smeared on a dull presentation.

Creating a medieval dungeon and asking users to click on the doors to learn about privacy protection is not going to make eLearning engaging. Nor will using a cute-looking talking dinosaur. These tactics do not challenge the learner to move through the lesson, and they definitely do not motivate them.

But what motivates people? According to the Self-Determination Theory, there are three elements that form the basis of motivational learning experience: autonomy, competence, and social connectedness. Here is how at Alwasaet we weave these three elements to create engaging eLearning experiences.

1) Give the learner meaningful choices to make

People are motivated when they feel they have a sense of control. They need to feel that they are autonomous and are able to determine the outcomes of their actions. To design engaging learning experiences, you need to allow the learner to make meaningful decisions with clear impacts on his or her experience.

The decisions do not have to be complicated. They can be as simple as, ‘do I try an easy question or a challenging question first?’ Or they can have more impact such as, ‘which infection prevention approach should I use to minimize the risk of spreading this disease?’

The process of giving the users choices motivates them because they feel they have the power to influence what is happening in their eLearning experience.

2) Move progressively from simple to more complex units of knowledge

The second element of the Self-Determination Theory (competence) can be established by providing the learner small bits of information for them to learn, rewarding them for learning it (rewarding is step #3), then moving progressively to another small unit of knowledge that is a bit more complex.

Setting the content from least to most difficult allows the learner incrementally move from the simple to the more difficult information while gaining confidence in their competence. This provides the learner with a sense of mastery and achievement. The most effective eLearning design is to create experiences that keep the learner at the edge of competence. The content is just the right level of difficulty–not too easy and not too complicated– so the learner is challenged but can still master the content.

3) Create a rewarding system to celebrate mastery of the content

When you allow the learner to celebrate their achievements, you would be giving them a chance to see themselves mastering a task or information. People are motivated when they feel competent. The rewarding system can include simple rewards, badges, points, or ranks.

4) Allow learners to share their achievements with their family and friends

Provide opportunities for learners to share their scores, trophies, badges, or any successes through social media channels, like Facebook or LinkedIn, and leader boards.

People love to share their accomplishments with others. They are motivated when they feel they are socially interacting with others. It allows them to discuss their experience and compare notes. This is called relatedness. They also love to compare how they are doing against their peers. Competition is one of the elements that make games so motivational. We can use this element in any eLearning experience to increase motivation and create engaging moments.

Brain Feeds: How Small Is the Smallest Birds on the Planet?

Discover amazing facts about hummingbirds, the smallest birds on the planet, through this animated infographic.

Discover amazing facts about hummingbirds, the smallest birds on the planet, through this animated infographic.

Hummingbirds are unique to the Western Hemisphere. They are known to be the smallest birds living on the planet. Like a helicopter, the hummingbird can hover, fly right to left, left to right, diagonal, forwards, and yes, even backwards!

Dimensions

Hummingbirds are the smallest of all warm-blooded animals. Some measure around 5.5cm and weigh about 2g.

Wing Beat Rate

The smallest hummingbird beats its wings at a rate of around 70 times per second.

 

Understanding the Latest eLearning Trend: Microlearning

Microlearning

It is happening all around the world. The workforce is receiving a massive inflow of millennials who can’t drop down their smartphones and can’t focus for more than 90 seconds. Some studies even claim that the attention span of people in the digital age has fallen from 12 seconds in year 2000 to 8 seconds in 2015.

This phenomena is not because millennials are less smart, but because they are constantly bombarded with more interesting stuff—social media, notifications, games, videos, you name it. Naturally, this affects learning, and to stay relevant, eLearning strategies and techniques need to adapt to the modern learner.

Millennials don’t have a shortage of attention. They just have more interesting stuff.

The New Trend: Microlearning

Microlearning is the latest approach built on learning moments that take place in increments and at the point of need with specific learning outcomes.

Ok, you might be wondering what this actually means.

In brief, microlearning delivers content in short (often less than 5 minutes), focused (addresses one learning objective), and easy to digest units. These units are designed in formats as varied as videos, games, podcasts, or slideshows, and are available on multiple devices for easier accessibility.When the learner finishes all the units, he or she would have learned the entire content.

This approach cannot be implemented by simply chopping available content into tiny pieces and placing it online. On the contrary, it is a granular approach to learning that requires the use of sophisticated instructional design techniques to incrementally build up knowledge and skills.

Microlearning in Corporate Training

Microlearning is gaining increasing popularity in corporate training for a number of reasons.

For one, people love quick content. With shorter attention spans and busy schedules, employees can only dedicate 1% of their time to training. They want to consume knowledge the same way they do everything else: fast, small, and at “our own time.” Microlearning appeals to them because it requires less time and can be easily accessed when they need it and when it is most relevant to their work.

Employees can only dedicate 1% of their time to training.

Moreover, microlearning’s rich media formats facilitates the retention of the learning. Studies show that learners retain only 5% of what they learn from a lecture after three days. This number increases to 65% when audio visuals are added, and can reach 95% with simulation games—one of the formats of microlearning.

All these benefits should come at a price, yes? Actually, no. Microlearning produces content 300% faster than traditional training—at half the price.

Stay posted to learn what are the benefits of using video in microlearning.

 

Learning vs Development

Link to the original article: https://ryan2point0.wordpress.com/2011/06/27/learning-vs-development/

Is there a difference between learning and development?

I ruminated over this question for a number of years as a Learning & Development professional, but without much progress.

I could never draw a clear line between the two, so I considered the “D” in “L&D” to be a simple tautology.

That was until a colleague of mine recommended I read Making the Case for a Developmental Perspective by Dr Suzanne R Cook-Greuter.

Read More

3 Factors that Make a Good Educational Video Game “Good”

Nothing soothes my 10-month old niece more than giving her one of our $600- to $900- worth of smartphones or tablets. A few months back, she was more than happy to just drool on these devices and watch the helpless look on our faces.

Not anymore.

Now she knows that even if the screen is black, if you touch it, something interesting would happen. She even knows how to swipe her chubby fingers to unlock the device.

Read More

Creating “Magic”

Sometimes, it’s important to take a step back, and think about what it is that we’re really doing here. As people, and as companies, we need to think about what our goals were when we started, and whether we’re any closer to achieving those goals. Sometimes these goals are tangible, and sometimes they’re abstract. But more often than not, we get so consumed with our day-to-day lives that we forget how we got here, that’s why this is befitting as a first blog post.

Read More