Blended Learning is available to everyone
Blended learning continues to catch the attention of many HR and training departments. We have always known that people learn in different ways and most learning take place on the job (the 70:20:10 principle). Blended learning has always existed, it just didn’t have this name.
If we accept that the evidence shows that learning is acquired in the following way: –
- 70% from tough jobs
- 20% from people in our organisation (mostly the boss)
- 10% from courses and reading
Then, typically, once a piece of formal classroom training is over, people carrying on learning as they do their jobs, by noticing, listening, asking questions and through trial and error. They also learn from their managers, colleagues, customers, peers, and people they come into contact with.
Blended learning is an increasingly exciting concept, because we can ‘structure’ our 70:20:10 mix by utilising increasingly effective and efficient new technologies and well thought out work projects and work based activities. While this is undoubtedly the way to go, you need to ask yourself some key questions before unveiling it to everyone in your organisation:-
- Are blended learning initiatives combining technology, learning methods and work based projects effectively?
- Are training objectives aligned with business objectives?
- How will you measure performance improvements?
When deciding upon a blended solution remember that the increased flexibility allows these solutions to be tailored for the individual’s learning preferences – if you blend purely from the organisation’s perspective and forget about the individual’s needs you are missing a trick. What we want is the best result, not the cheapest solution. This gives you the cost/benefit you will be seeking.
Learning on demand means that content can be made available when the learner is available – 24/7 and 365 days per year. Yes, there will be times when classroom based learning is the necessary option – that’s fine….it’s all part of the blend after all.
Blended learning will not work unless it carefully considers the organisation’s specific needs, individual learning styles and preferences, learner capabilities and expectations, and the workplace environment.
What we propose is that organisations create an environment where learning and work seamlessly integrate and are not seen as mutually exclusive, and phrases such as “Yes, that’s fine in theory but this is the real world” are banished.
A thoughtful and responsive blended approach will turn learning into action, and employees at all levels into ‘thinking performers.
How to create the right balance
- Assess the employee’s attitude towards learning
- Assess the employer’s attitude towards learning
- Assess the employees learning style
- Create a learning culture that rewards learning and application of learning
- Deliver the right content, at the right time and in the right way
By designing blended approaches in the context of business objectives and learner outcomes, budgets will be utilised more effectively and more learners will be actively engaged in a process of continuous improvement and positive change.