Providing a Blended Learning Experience
You ask, Evolve answers! Evolve’s Chief Solution Strategist, Alex Ryan, and Lead Instructional Designer, Tristia Hennessey answer your learning & development questions.
What is blended learning?
As learning and change consultants we know what blended learning is, but a lot of clients don’t really understand what it means to provide a blended learning experience.
Blended learning, the application of multiple modalities in a training program, can look different based on what an organization’s training priorities are, who their audience is, and the type of tools they have access to.
Blended learning can include eLearning, video, a combination of pre and post assessments, gamification, simulation, virtual instructor led training, and some coaching sessions back in the classroom as needed to enhance learners’ experience and increase retention.
One of our case studies is a great example of this. We had a client who wanted to take approximately five days of 100% instructor-led training in a classroom, typically one to a small group, and put together a new learning experience. For this client we completely dissected their content and put together a curriculum that would be much more sustainable and effective in comparison.
To do this, we started with a 30-minute virtual instructor led session to jumpstart the group of learners. The learners were shown a company video as an orientation to the program.
Afterward learners navigated to foundational learning topics through e-learning and video playlists, then drip learning or microlearning that was distributed through text messages, email, and learning portals, so that they were learning bite-size chunks as they went along.
Once they made their way through some of the more asynchronous learning, they then came back together as a group for more virtual instructor led discussions. Coaching sessions and peer learning were both added at this point, both great ways that learners absorb and immerse themselves in the content.
This learning process went from being five days of “one and done” instructor led training to a three-month learning experience that built community, offered peer learning opportunities, and presented the opportunity to build their knowledge over time. Most importantly this curriculum gave the learning content in a modality that works best for the learners because it built onto their foundations, progressively adding more detail throughout so that they were constantly engaged. Thus, providing a learning experience much more enticing than sitting in a classroom for a five-day crash course.
This example of blended learning and the benefit of using multiple modalities, shows that it’s not only about learning styles, or using different tools just to use the next new shiny thing. Blended learning is about meeting the learner where they’re at and tailoring the content and delivery methods to their needs. As well as taking into account what works within the learner’s work style, the schedule, the company culture, and the organization’s budget.
In general, use the tools which are available to you. Delivering messages through text and email are valid ways of distributing information at very little or no cost. And there are many other tools out there that you can use as well that simplify the process.
When creating a blended learning experience, you keep learners in their daily work, meeting them where the work is getting done, which is where that learning can be most impactful. If you’re creating a blended learning experience and don’t know where to start or could use a little help, schedule a consult with us today!