Why The ‘Blended Approach’ Is The Only Real Solution

The blended approach

Whenever I speak with businesses about training, there are two typical questions that are often raised: –

  1. There are so many training delivery methodologies available how do I go about choosing which would be best for my learners?
  2. How can we make the most of our investments in training programs, such that they contribute to the continuing success of our business?

What, ultimately, we need to come back to is ‘what is the business problem that you are trying to solve?’  Without knowing what the end goal is, we cannot propose the right blend of solution.  Of course, this is just the start.  We also need to know about your people; where they are, how they like to learn and how they fit into the wider issues that you may be trying to address?

It is similar to solving a jigsaw puzzle when a child looks upon a box of broken bits and then works out how to connect them to recreate the big picture on the box. The child uses an array of methods to construct the picture – colours, edges, patterns, trial and error, asking a sibling or parent. Blended learning is about finding the best blend of methodologies to enable you to make real your vision – to turn your picture of success into a reality.

Workshops are often a key element in a blend, as they enable the interaction – both planned and spontaneous – of learners.  A skilled facilitator, with a motivated group of learners, can generate great leaps forward in skills, knowledge and behaviours.  However, without both a clear goal and follow up with practice, coaching/mentoring, feedback et al, then the chance of turning the learning into action, and a permanent positive change in the workplace, is greatly diminished.  The net result is a poor return on investment and a potentially negative impact on morale.

The key to unlocking both individual and organisational performance is to create the right mix, which empowers the individual to improve his or her job performance and enables the organisation to reach their goals.  The right blend.

Re-thinking the way in which you deliver training will help you to break from the traditional idea of ‘putting on a menu of workshops’, and it will enable you to envision learning as a continual program of development, which is embedded and aligned with business objectives.

Learning, like businesses, is multidimensional.  The 70:20:10 rule tells us that most learning takes place on-the-job or through social interaction with colleagues, with only 10% of learning delivered through direct training interventions.  At a crude level, this suggests that if your training sessions aren’t formally integrated into immediate deployment, practice and feedback then they are likely to be a waste of money and resources.  When we grasp that concept, it becomes clear that all effective training requires a blended approach, in order to deliver real change and bottom line return on investment.

The world of day to day work and learning is inseparable; it can’t be any other way. We believe that learning should be embedded into every day processes and this learning should be available to everyone through a variety of channels.  This needs careful thought and careful resourcing – think less of cost-cutting and more of value adding.  Do it badly and you will waste money – directly and indirectly; do it well and you will create value – directly and indirectly.

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