The New Blend: Redefining Blended Learning for the Remote Workforce
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way governments, organizations, and educational institutions function. With organizations now largely transitioned to working from home, traditional learning methods have also undergone a significant shift to online. One of the established and effective learning methods finding a new life during these times is Blended Learning.
Instructor-led online training works well to introduce new employees to their team members, conduct meetings and brainstorming sessions, and discuss general procedures and policies. However, such training may not offer much flexibility to employees who may now be working from different locations and time zones. Internet connectivity issues may further plague some learners during lengthy video meetings and live trainings.
To overcome these challenges, in addition to trainings and meetings in real time, companies are encouraging employees to take self-paced online trainings at their convenience. Self-paced learning can include simulations, animations, videos, and games— usually accessed on mobile phones. The best of virtual instruction combined with self-paced online training has contributed to the new blend of learning, offering a personal touch and the flexibility remote workers need.
Blended Learning employs different learning strategies to divide lengthy trainings into small, effective learning chunks and ensures that each chunk has a specific objective and set of outcomes. Blended Learning offers employees different ways to learn, which enables retention and therefore improves productivity. Instructors can leverage training time with employees for discussions and activities that would not be as effective if completed alone. Organizations are adapting to the times with enhanced Blended Learning strategies that identify which requirements can be covered by multiple delivery methods to effectively engage learners.
Blended Learning continues to evolve via new methodologies that use synchronous and asynchronous touchpoints and that can be spread across the training. The following are some enhanced Blended Learning strategies for a remote workforce.
The instructor and employees connect on a collaboration app, such as Skype for face-to-face training sessions. They discuss the agenda, learning objectives, and related tasks. Employees perform these tasks individually or as a group. The instructor may also share assessments to help employees evaluate if they have achieved the learning objectives. They may also discuss the outcomes and queries related to previous training sessions.
Group tasks, projects, and activities allow employees to socialize and collaborate even when working remotely. The instructor may conduct sessions at the end of certain tasks, so that employees can discuss the outcomes and experience, and also share feedback on each other’s tasks. Such face-to-face online meetings allow for instructor, peer-to-peer, and also group feedback, further encouraging collaboration.
Employees may go through concepts, case studies, and scenario-based solutions in self-paced courses, to understand how they will apply what they are learning on the job. During face-to-face online trainings, employees can seek clarifications from the instructor and each other. Employees can also use collaborative platforms, like discussion boards, to ask and answer each other’s questions.
The instructor may also share additional learning material and assignments for employees to complete after training sessions. This lets employees revisit some topics later and apply what they have learned. Also, employees might be assigned activities on the job that they can complete independently using the knowledge gained from the training.
Achieving a new urgency during the pandemic, Blended Learning is here to stay, grow, and evolve. With its balance of self-paced and instructor-led training, Blended Learning is ideally suited to meet the learning needs of employees and to continuously improve their skills.
For more information on how KnowledgeWorks Global Learning can help initiate or improve your organization’s blended learning approach, please contact Kelly.Lake@kwglobal.com.