The best training programs are those that enable participants to meet their training objectives, while still being efficient and within a budget.
To hit this ‘sweet spot’ trainers must be willing to continuously improve their programs. One thing that corporate educators are doing, to good success, is combining instructor-led training with eLearning. Such blended learning takes the best of both worlds and tends to result in highly effective and unique programmes.
If you are interested in exploring it within your organization, the next tips should help you do just that.
Focus on Providing Optimized Support For All Learners
One of the reasons that this method succeeds is that it works well with a variety of personality types and learning styles. Some learners prefer autonomy. Others like, tactile, hands on experience. Elearning can work well here. Others prefer the discussions and immediate feedback from instructor led learning. Many benefit from both moving from self-paced elearning to instructor training as they need it.
Instructors can even dig a bit deeper into both learning options to provide even more specialized instructions. For example, a visual learner working through a safety course could learn through videos, and perhaps even VR simulations. An auditory learner could listen to taped instructional materials. During instructor led training, the auditory learners can benefit from a traditional lecture approach.
Offer Students Options And Self-Assessments
The more control students have over learning, the more engaged they will be. More importantly, they’ll value the experience and get more out of it. One way to accomplish this is to provide students with self-assessments, explain to them the competencies they must develop, then give them choices in how to meet those goals.
Students, based upon their own self assessments and preferences could select, with instructor guidance, the choices that would work for them. Options could include a combination of any of the following:
- In classroom instruction
- Video lectures
- Attending corporate sponsored seminars or webinars
- Self-paced, internet based instruction
- Project-based learning
These can each be accomplished through elearning, instructor supervised training, or a combination of both. For students opting to take elearning options only, the instructor can remain a source of support and guidance. They can provide supplementary instruction. They can also administer ongoing assessments and have learners modify their approach as needed.
Identify Subjects That Work Best With Elearning And Which Need Instructional Support
Between course evaluations, feedback from learning management systems, and simply evaluating on the job competencies, it should become clear which methods are and are not working when presenting a particular subject. That, combined with the trainer’s own knowledge should help to identify where students may be fine using elearning and where they are most likely to receive instructional support.
Give Outdated Material an Update
Sometimes a portion of a course may become outdated. For example a regulation might be changed, or a technology may have changed. Sometimes there is simply new information or perspectives available. The course doesn’t need to be eliminated or rewritten entirely. A portion simply needs to be brought up to par.
This is the perfect place to use an e-learning module. One area where instructional materials must be updated regularly is in the field of education. For example, students earning a Masters in education online can expect their coursework to change as new methodologies and regulations emerge. The new e-learning module can either replace or provide needed correction to the outdated material.
Assign E-Learning Materials Before Classroom Instruction
In some flipped classroom models, students are asked to consume elearning materials before they enter the classroom. They may complete online worksheets and assessments, watch videos, or otherwise use internet based classwork. Then, students meet in classroom settings to receive additional instruction and engage in discussion on what they learned outside of the classroom.
Implementing E-learning After The Class is Over
Retention can be a real issue. In some cases, students struggle because traditional classroom instruction doesn’t work for them. In others, students simply don’t apply their newly obtained knowledge quickly enough, and their recollection simply fades. In any case, improving training effectiveness is always an important goal.
One way to to improve retention is to simply create elearning materials that can be accessed after the course is over, or on an as needed business. This doesn’t need to be full instructional materials. For example, an instructor can create mini courses briefly covering important points addressed in the original course.
Use Online Tools For Group Projects And Other Collaboration
Even when they aren’t working on ‘real world’ projects, students can use project management software, video conferencing apps, and other online utilities to work on group projects and collaborate with one another. These can be used to communicate with one another outside of the classroom, assign specific tasks to participants, and provide a common place to share and update documents.
By using a combination of traditional, instructor led trainer in combination with e-learning, trainers and teachers can maximize the effectiveness of their classes. Students will be able to learn to the best of their abilities, courses will be more engaging, and students may choose the best path to competency.
Independant inbound marketing consultant with 5+ years in the industry, including coaching and developing e-learning courses. Bylines at the Huffington Post, Tech Cocktail, Hackerspace by Lifehacker among others.