The Best of Both Worlds — Why Virtual Blended Learning Programs Provide a Better Approach to Training
Sometimes referred to as “hybrid learning,” blended learning is an approach to training that relies on a combination of synchronous and asynchronous instruction. Any training that incorporates self-guided, online instruction with live or virtual Instructor-Led Trainings (ILTs) falls into the category of blended learning.
Even in an online-only environment, where in-person events are limited, organizations can still capitalize on the benefits of blended learning by developing virtual blended learning programs. In this guide, we’ll discuss the benefits and challenges of blended learning, tips to build a virtual blended learning program, and share guidance on how to measure program success.
Combining synchronous and asynchronous techniques
As we’ve covered in previous posts, Instructor-Led Trainings and asynchronous learning are both incredibly effective in onboarding new employees and executing continuous learning initiatives. Still, each have their own unique strengths and weaknesses. While Instructor-Led Trainings are ideal for covering topics that require a physical demonstration, practicing interpersonal skills, and real-time facilitator feedback, they can be difficult to scale and schedule for large audiences. With ILTs, there are also concerns about employee engagement and information retention—remember that 20-minute sessions are recommended for sustaining learners’ attention.
Though ideal for empowering flexible learning, breaking down complex topics, and repeatability, asynchronous learning does have its drawbacks. Without peer and instructor contact, asynchronous learning may not be preferred for interpersonal topics or trainings that are enhanced with interactive practice and real-time feedback. Hence, the appeal of blended learning—by using an LMS to develop blended learning opportunities, facilitators and learners can reap the benefits of both ILTs and asynchronous learning, resulting in the best possible training program for your company.
The blended learning approach
While deciding on course learning objectives, structure, and duration is a struggle for any instructor, these challenges are especially relevant to blended learning instructors, who must also consider best format options. Generally, the best way to approach these considerations is to reflect on the desired outcomes of your training and the type of session that would best serve your learning goals. Take, for example, a virtual blended learning onboarding program with learning objectives around teaching the company’s vision and goals, helping the new hire understand their role and responsibilities, and acquainting them with the company culture and other departments.
Start learners off with asynchronous pre-onboarding, which might include bite-sized pieces of information about the company’s structure and technology assets. Virtual ILT sessions are great for the new hires’ first few days—program these sessions to introduce coworkers, generate interactive discussions around company culture, and demonstrate the technical trainings in which the learner is sure to have follow-up questions. For specific role-based trainings and case studies, plan to program asynchronous sessions in your LMS—not only will this format help learners retain and re-visit the material, you can repurpose the content later for future hires.
Measuring what matters
As with any training program or learning initiative, facilitators should put systems in place to measure the effectiveness of blended learning programs. The most efficient and objective way to assess program performance is to base the analysis on specific business goals. So, if your blended learning program is designed to equip your sales team with the skills needed to drive more revenue, you should monitor changes in average deal size following the training.
One of the benefits of virtual blended learning programs is the ease of measuring program success within an LMS. For asynchronous sessions, LMS dashboards provide clear metrics on program scores, outcomes, and even live information on learner progress—LMS tools like WorkRamp even integrate with Salesforce, making it simple to gather performance data. Virtual ILTs are perhaps easier to evaluate than in-person sessions—with interactive elements like polls, chats, and real-time attendance statistics, facilitators have constant insight on program engagement. Of course, facilitators should also ask learners for their feedback upon the completion of a blended learning program.
Taking a blended learning approach to training is easier than you think—with one platform to consolidate asynchronous learning guides and execute virtual Instructor-Led Trainings, you can build a more effective and sustainable learning program. Learn more about WorkRamp’s blended learning offerings by requesting a demo today.
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