Engaging learners – Busting the blended learning myth
Engaging learners – Busting the blended learning myth
How can we engage employees in continuous personal development?
In an ever changing and uncertain economic landscape, it is now more important than ever to consider how employee engagement can be achieved, such that it leads to increased business profitability, higher customer satisfaction, improved productivity, greater creativity and innovation.
One of the challenges is how you enable and empower your teams to learn to become better managers and leaders.
By providing blended solutions which allow them to learn in the best way for them is one, another is to take away or reduce complex systems, which simply cause frustration.
I wonder how often you have stopped to consider how you actually learn? Learning is something that we all take for granted. From the moment we were conceived we have been learning. Every step we have taken in our learning journey has been recorded and is stored in our memory banks, waiting to be called upon as the need arises. Once you have learnt something, you cannot unlearn it. Sure you may temporarily forget, but it is still coded and available for use.
There are many theories about how people learn and various types of learner. I put myself into the category of an activist, that is, I like to learn by doing. I don’t mind if I learn by myself or with others, however, I really enjoy learning (and do it more effectively) by participating and discussing with other people; so workshops always get a thumbs up from me. However, e-learning has also become a favourite of mine: the beauty of being able to pick something up ‘as and when’ is helpful and empowering. I adore books and so get lots of information in that way – I have piles of books all over the house, ready to dip into as the need arises.
In each of the examples above, my learning has been chunked in such a way, that I have found it digestible and actionable. That is I do, learn, try, reflect, get feedback and ‘do’ again. It works for me.
Take a moment to consider how you like to learn, what process you might go through? Think of it like a recipe. What are the key ingredients and the steps you take to bake that perfect cake?
Now look at your partner or colleagues. How do you think they learn? The same as you or differently?
I bet we are all different, we all want to consume our learning in different ways. Occasionally we may try something that pushes us out of our comfort zone, but mostly we are creatures of habit and we know what we like.
So blended learning is a set of ingredients which you can pick from to make your perfect cake. You don’t have to select all of the component parts, just the ones that work for you.
Imagine these two recipes:-
- 3 workshops
- 6 coaching sessions
- Read a book
- Critique a paper
- Run a co-coaching session
- 3 e-learning modules
- 4 coaching sessions
- 1 workshop
Both different ways to skin the same cat, but each potentially achieving the required objectives.
The implications of adopting blended learning are that:-
- more people learn in a way that suits them
- your budget is optimized as you are not wasting money shoe horning people into programmes that don’t engage them
- engaged people take action
- those who lack the confidence to join in workshops have other methods available to them to build their confidence and skills
- by allowing people to learn in ways that suit them you are able to create larger learning communities
How can technology support blended learning?
Technology is an enabler. In the context of e-learning, you undertake learning online, this gives you flexibility.
In addition, by using a Learning Management System (LMS) you are able to manage the qualifications process along side of the learning process. Which means that your learning organisation becomes more effective and efficient, driving improvements in the way that you work and deliver learning, resulting in:-
- Improved employee retention, increased employee performance and better engaged learners
- Process improvements, by highlighting wasteful and inefficient activities. Enabling you to maximise your resources.
- Reducing compliance risk.
- Improved standards
- Improved learner experience and outcomes
- More effective management of complex administration
- Reduced costs and increased margins by enabling a minimal number of administrators to manage large numbers of learners.
Benefits of blended learning
Blended learning integrates or blends, learning programmes in different formats to achieve a common goal. More often, blended learning programmes integrate classroom and online workshops but can also integrate materials in other formats.
- Blended Learning can have the benefit of taking the best from self-paced, instructor-led, distance, and classroom delivery to improve instruction. Those who can demonstrate mastery of the prerequisite content can skip the online part and go directly to the classroom section. The rest can learn it at their leisure, without other learners nearby who already know the material and are visibly expressing their frustration with the novice learners
- Blended learning frees course designers to separate content focusing on lower-order thinking skills, which can be easily taught online, from critical thinking skills, which many instructors feel more comfortable addressing in the classroom. It also enables designers to tailor learning content to the unique needs of different audience segments
- Blended learning can help reduce total training time and minimise time away from the job for training. Blended learning offers a comfortable middle ground for trainers, appropriately integrating e-learning where it makes sense and providing classroom experiences when e-learning cannot appropriately teach the content
- Blended learning can be more effective than classroom alone and many learners enjoy it more than either classroom or on-line only
How can you find a blended learning solution to suit your learners which also meets your organisational objectives?
Talk to Thinking Performers. Whatever the questions you have, we will have a solution or can help you find a solution from the many approaches we have at our disposal. Results come from both the tried and tested and from innovative new approaches.
Please contact Thinking Performers on firstname.lastname@example.org or call on 0844 800 2958 to request more information.