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Blended Learning for Employee Training

1st Feb 2018
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Blended learning, also known as personalized learning or hybrid learning, refers to an education program that combines web-based learning methodologies with traditional classroom methods. A blended learning is suitable for both formal as well as informal settings. Though the learners still attend real-life classrooms, their face-to-face classroom practices are brought together with online activities. Blended learning software is also used extensively for professional development and employee training as it gives the employees ample time to consume the training content on their own.

Companies, small or big, for one thing, or the other, face the need to train their employees. While an instructor-led format is effective in this regard, it comes with certain limitations like logistical issues in scheduling trainer-led sessions, the high cost of training, and the inability to facilitate continuous access to learning, among others. This is where blended learning makes its way by eliminating these hurdles to a significant extent. Over the course of a few years, organizations across the world have started to incorporate online digital media along with regular classroom practices in order to train their employees.

The Many Benefits of Blended Learning in Employee Training

While the benefits of blended learning in corporate training are many, following are few of the most noteworthy ones.

Employer as well as employee friendly
Every employee is different, and so is his/her way of working. Some prefer to take up a training session in the early hours of the day, and others prefer the quiet of the night for the same. While blended learning allows you as an employer to have control over where, when, and how you want to train your employees, it also allows you as an employee a say in the learning schedule. Blended learning is primarily about flexibility and that makes it user-friendly.

Cost-effective
Several factors make a live training session costly. These include sending employees to offsite locations, bringing in an experienced trainer, employee time lost to training sessions, topped with training facility rental, additional supplies, and meals. IBM estimates that about 40% of classroom training costs is spent on travel and lodging. Blended training, while utilizing the special training resources at the company or from outside, also includes an online component that is often less expensive. It allows organizations to train their employees in a way that fits well within their budget, increasing the chances of the management providing necessary training and possible updates.

Multidimensional
Online training programs include a range and variety of teaching techniques, helping instructors create a user-specific environment for different learners. Multimedia designs help in improving the visual appeal while audio options add a lifelike quality to the training session. Webcasts and podcasts make the sessions more informative as well as break the monotony. Some platforms offer interactive sessions allowing the trainees to engage in active learning through role play and even gaming.

Employee oriented
In a traditional setting, the programs offered by the trainer are homogenous and not tailored according to the individual employees. In blended training, the trainer, before assigning trainees online modules to complete, prefaces the training modules. These can be adjusted to best suit the learning needs of a specific group of trainees. This is especially useful in the case of employees with special-needs or those with disabilities.
 

How to use Blended Learning in Employee Training?

After understanding what blended learning is and its many benefits in corporate training, comes the question of its incorporation. From onboarding and updating skill sets to exiting, the journey of an employee in an organization consists of various stages. Here’s how a blended learning approach comes handy at every such stage.
 

Onboarding
When employees join an organization, in order to be efficient, it is necessary that they possess certain knowledge and skills. The process of training the new employees on the code-of-conduct, key responsibilities, compliance, etc. that helps them transition smoothly into the work culture of their new organization is known as employee onboarding. According to Forbes, the average tenure of an employee in the U.S. is merely 1.5 years. Employee onboarding, when done right, ensures their satisfaction, resulting in a longer stay at the organization and workforce productivity. Through blended learning, you can make an employee onboarding program, which starts training them right away, instead of waiting for the first day at work, by giving them onboarding training content that they can consume as per their convenience in advance. Training sessions could be conducted after the introductory content is supplied digitally. This will cut down the number of sessions saving the organization a lot of cost. 
 

Professional development
From enhancing communication skills for better sales to learning a new language for a foreign client, from understanding the nuances of a program to learning how to troubleshoot a new product, employees need to keep updating their skill sets for the smooth functioning of an organization. 

The online approach could be employed for individual skill development such as learning a new programming language or mastering a work-related software. Traditional sessions could be used for focus group discussions, training activities, games and assessments, interviews, etc.

While creating blended learning programs for skill training, remember to choose formats that are in line with the result of the training.
 

Post-leave joining
Employees need to be updated about what took place in their absence after they return from a leave. You can use a blended learning approach to make this fairly easy, as information on the website or mobile app along with specific recorded sessions can help in providing them an update.
 

Keep Track of the Results to Measure Impact

To determine the success of your training strategy, there has to be a way to measure the impact of training. While you can observe employee performance, it, in itself, is not enough. Online components of your training module are conducted using an online training software which generate course and trainee-related reports. These reports can be used to derive insights. Online assessments can be evaluated in an instant giving organizations an indicative measure of the scope and success of the training module.

Blended learning, flexible as it is, allows your employees to keep up with today’s fast paced world. It enables you to do the required, without having to compromise your convenience or that of your employees.

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