Management training needs to keep pace with the fast-changing business landscape. Volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous ecosystems and business scenarios require a highly agile workforce led by an equally agile and learning driven management. Individual initiatives, wider and deeper leadership teams (than just the one represented by those reporting to the CEO) and a flexible strategy and culture – all demand a new form of management capability. It is important that leaders and managers are enabled by relevant functional, technical and behavioral skills.
In the past, management training has largely been delivered through instructor led program. While this learning methodology is highly effective, it is challenging to schedule such a training especially when the teams are geographically distributed. It is even more difficult to schedule shorter follow up or continuous learning sessions. With the advent of the digital age, this challenge has been solved by blended learning. Many organizations have now developed strategies of blended learning for management training that utilizes both classroom and online learning methodologies. This trend is growing and increasing the number of blended training programs across industries.
Developed strategies of blended Learning for management training
With organizations spending generously to develop the next level of management, many consulting firms offer management training programs. However, many organizations struggle to get the best out of their budgets spending a significant amount on logistics and travel rather than the actual access to knowledge. As per one estimate, almost 40% of classroom training costs are spent on logistics – classroom, travel and boarding. Higher ratio of online training in a blended solution directly translates into reduced training costs. Training cost is further saved by reduction in person hours invested in training away from business. Even with the high cost of classroom management training, talent development efforts still don’t adequately build critical skills, organizational capabilities and leadership inventory.
Most traditional management training programs don’t adequately prepare executive for the challenges they face today and those they may face tomorrow. Management training must assist organization build a growth mindset, maze through the ambiguities of the marketplace and proactively build a culture of collaboration. By blending traditional programs with online delivery of sessions, management training programs are becoming more flexible and relevant. With a hybrid learning approach, instructor make efficient use of the time in the classroom. Learning are expected to come prepared, becoming familiar with certain portions of courseware online and this allows instructors to spend more time building on the basic knowledge, clarifying doubts and assessing the comprehension levels of participants in the classroom.
Blended learning for management training has another big advantage! They help in ensuring that everyone has a similar level of knowledge when in a classroom. For example, in a sales training program, participants could go through the product manuals online and take some basic courses on the selling techniques that have been deployed in the past before attending classroom sessions. This ensures that all learners are more engaged, have the same level of knowledge and are focused on gaining real selling skills rather than just debating the features of the product.
“Lifelong learning” and “Continuous Learning” are buzzwords in the learning industry but is still far from reality. Traditional management training programs are event based, episodic, and expensive. Many training departments pursue goals such as “delivering” a certain number of days of training per employee in a year. This doesn’t help in creating a learning culture or a commitment to lifelong learning. By blending classroom training with online training, management training has an opportunity to last longer and be more effective. By focusing on “interactions” and debates in the classroom and making a large part of the training self-driven through online medium, companies can save expensive management time and engage the managers and leaders.
To make the best of a blended approach to training, organizations must do the following:
1. Seek Learner’s buy in for Blended Management Training
It is important to seek learners buy-in before rolling out an approach of blended learning for management training. Management must highlight how the blended approach will reduce classroom training time, offer anytime, anywhere access to training material and decrease time required off the business.
2. Build relevant content
Learning outcomes must decide the kind of blend you require. There is no standard mix of online and classroom training. The choice of medium must be driven by the learning outcomes.
3. Consider preferences of the learners
People have different learning preferences. When deciding on the blend and the possible learning outcomes, it is necessary to consider the preferences and the environment in which the learners operate. Age group, education level, local culture – all these influence learning preferences.
To sum, if you want to plan a holistic and effective learning journey for your management, trying considering a blended approach.