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Blended learning: an agile approach to change

1st May 2020
https://developmentprofessionals.org/
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You’ve been informed of a major change that requires upskilling the workforce.

You know you’ve got a challenge ahead; change is cumbersome at your business. Employees struggle with change and require a great deal of encouragement and support in upskilling.

Sound familiar? I know it does for previous companies I’ve worked for.

There is, however, a methodology you can use that upskills employees quicker, enabling agile change. Blended learning - I’ve used it multiple times successfully and have compiled a simple how to guide so you can too.

Why blended learning is the key to agility

Blended learning is key to agility for several reasons:

  • Availability - Once created, the wrap around content is accessible to staff 24/7. Resulting in less reliance on colleagues or ‘champions’ to support.  
  • Focus of face to face changes – Face to face learning can still be included but the focus shifts to skills development. It provides a golden opportunity to understand any barriers to implementing the learning, plus any resistance to change. Both of which, negatively impact agility.
  • Appeals to all learning styles – By having a blended approach you appeal to each learning style, resulting in a faster learning process and thus more agile employees.

How can I create blended learning?

Blended learning can be broken down into three segments:

Is it blendable?

Blended learning is perfect for large, planned changes that impact on more employees. Such as transferring the business to a new IT system, procedural changes that impact ways of working or a employees requiring a new skill-set

Once you’ve identified a change blended learning can support, work closely with the project team to understand the requirements.

Content creation and delivery

Now you’re clear on the scope of the change you can create the perfect blend of learning. What’s included entirely depends on the scope and speed of your change, but elements usually included are:

  • Online learning – I.e. e-learning, videos, micro-learning, mobile learning, gamification or access to a test system. Use online learning as an opportunity to ensure there is a base level of understanding of all employees prior to face to face. It speeds the learning up and removes valuable face to face contact time being taken up answering simple queries.
  • Face to face – The focus here is on firstly building the skill and asking any questiony, any procedural elements should have already been covered in the online learning. Utilise the opportunity to understand any barriers to implementing the change or any resistance – if any are found remove quickly post learning.
  • Job aids to support implementation afterwards – I.e. standard operating procedures, policies, flowcharts, guidance notes, you’ve plenty choices here.  Often job aids can be considered an afterthought. In order to ensure there are no barriers to transfer of learning all materials need to be created and ready in advance, and available immediately post-learning.

Add focus to the follow up:

Follow up is sometimes given little importance, but it often carries more weight in achievement of learning implementation than the learning itself.

Follow up options include:

  • Line Managers – Engage the line managers in the learning as much as possible. Ask them to include the learning in 1:1’s or team meetings to keep it alive. Line managers can be the biggest enabler, or equally the biggest block to learning implementation.
  • Communications – Keep the learning alive through communications, share quick tips or celebrate any early successes through case studies. Peers advocating change can be great for engagement and adoption.
  • Competition – Competition can be a great driver, if used in a healthy way. Do you have any data you can share regarding which teams or departments are implementing the change quickest?

Blended learning is a powerful, yet sometimes underrated approach to learning.

By scoping well, choosing a blend of learning interventions and adding focus to the follow up. You can support your business in having an agile approach to change.

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By KDeepa
19th May 2020 16:50

Suggestions on follow up are great. And it's true that we hardly think of follow up after implementation is complete. Thank you covering that in your article Sophia. Implementing blended learning is not without its challenges, and people challenges is an important one to tackle. Sharing more information on this challenge in blended learning implementation in this blog https://blog.commlabindia.com/elearning-design/blended-learning-implemen...

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