Blended learning mixes traditional training methods with modern, tech-based methods to not only shake things up, but maximize your training efforts company-wide. Benefits of implementing blended learning in your training include:
- More effective use of training dollars — get more bang for your L&D bucks by creating courses that can be completed without the costly in-person expenses, such as travel, meeting spaces, or a pastry spread from Panera (even though it is delicious).
- Greater accessibility — there’s no need to wait until class is in session when videos and online courses provide anytime, anywhere opportunities that lecturers just can’t outperform.
- More control to employees — today’s learners (especially millennials) love taking ownership of their development, and the right mix of training allows learners to train at their own pace.
But before you start getting ROI happy, you have to know what training makes sense for your teams.
To help you navigate the abyss of knowledge pursuit, here are six types of training and how to make them work for today’s workforce
- Synchronous learning: when a network of learners take part in learning simultaneously, such as in a face-to-face classroom setting or a live-stream webinar, it is synchronous learning (aka how anyone over 20 has formally learned most of their life). In the modern workforce, synchronous learning can be done through interactive webinars and video conferencing, lunch-and-learns, or industry conferences. You might use this type of training for going over items of business that a whole team would need to know at the same time, such as policy changes, explaining a new sales incentive structure, or introducing a new manager.
- M-learning: M-learning, or mobile training, is exactly what it sounds like — learning that takes place on a mobile device. This is a prevalent and growing trend in today’s workforce, as companies are adopting cloud-based learning management systems (LMSs) like Bridge by Instructure that can be used frustration-free on smartphones, tablets or laptops. Even better, a BYOD (bring your own device) policy lets employees train on and off the clock using their personal devices. The great thing about m-learning is that employees can knock out anything on the go, like standard compliance training or learning hot industry topics.
- Microlearning: Attention spans have shortened by nearly four seconds in the last 15 years, making it a challenge to keep employees “all in” during training. Microlearning uses bite-sized chunks of information to get employees up to speed on one topic at a time. Today’s office can put microlearning in action by using short videos or diagrams followed by quizzes to get concepts cemented into employees’ brains (or give them more training if they aren’t getting it). You might use microlearning to teach new product features to your sales team or teaching a new process, like filing employee relations reports.
- Social learning: Not to be confused with getting your daily Facebook fix, social learning is the natural, day-to-day schooling from peer interaction. For instance, a CSR rep could improve her call greetings by listening to her more senior neighbor. Though this is, by definition, informal learning, companies need to recognize that it actually a good technique and balance it with formal training. Social learning doesn’t have to happen IRL at the espresso machine, though. One way to encourage this type of learning is by giving employees time and a place to share, like via chat or online discussions.
- Interactive training: Interactivity is a must in a corporate training program (remember those pesky attention spans). When people practice what they've learned they retain 75 percent of that knowledge and when they actually teach or use it immediately that number jumps to 90 percent, it’s important to give employees a way to actively participate in their training. Interactivity has many forms, such as through team activities, quizzes and real-time feedback. For instance, a new retail worker might learn cash register functionality on a video and then answer questions about scenarios in a short quiz.
- Just-in-time (JIT) training: JIT training is on-the-job learning that happens — you guessed it — just in time. Create a central knowledge library in your LMS to house all info your employees might need to quickly access, such as refund policies for retail or call center workers. On top of strategically shaking things up, using an LMS with functionality to accommodate these various learning styles is key. When you incorporate a mix of training formats into your L&D practices, you can expect a more engaged workforce that is equipped to get stuff done. And that’s a perfect fit your leadership can get behind.
Check out “The Best Training Mix for the Modern Workforce” infographic to learn more about how to remix your L&D methods.