BLENDED LEARNING: THE FUTURE OF CORPORATE TRAINING
“An organization’s ability to learn and translate that learning into action rapidly is the ultimate competitive advantage”. — Jack Welch, former General Electric CEO
Learning has for a while now been recognized as the key to building a successful organization.
When we think of a learning or training program in the traditional sense what comes to mind is a dreary classroom with a “know it” teacher or trainer rambling on. The focus of such learning unfortunately was the passive transfer of information to the learning – the focus was teaching and not learning. Today, the focus of learning is the learner – how and what makes learning most effective for the learner. This shift has interesting consequences for learners in the entire spectrum from school to colleges to even the corporate learner. Blended learning is now becoming the future of the workplace.
Research in the past few years has brought out some interesting facts about learning and the changing global workforce, it is these trends that make blended learning the answer to some emerging dilemmas. First, the attention span of people has reduced significantly. As per research by Microsoft, our attention span is 8 seconds! This means day-long classroom training or disengaging lectures are not going to work anymore. The second interesting fact is about the change in the demographic of the workplace. As of this year, that is 2020, 5 generations will be working together, and millennials will comprise 50% of this workforce. This means that traditional learning methods are no more going to be relevant. Third, the workplace is global, and with
So, what does a modern learner look for?
SOME OF THE EXPECTATIONS A MODERN LEARNER HAS FROM A LEARNING INTERVENTION ARE:
- Tip of the finger learning – Learning modules, like everything else, should be accessible at the tip of a finger. Mobile learning and going forward virtual reality is going to be key elements of an engaging learning experience.
- Fast-Paced – With the shrinking attention span and limited time available for learning, learners expect learning to be fast paced. Shorter modules that the learner can consume at their pace will work going forward.
- Relevant – Learners today don’t want to learn something they cannot implement or something that is not relevant to their work. All learning must be related to the work and workplace.
- Continuous engagement – One or two-day learning events are a thing of the past. Learners realize that these learning events do not result in retention of learning and long-term change.
- Learning Styles – Learners have different learning styles – auditory, visual and kinesthetic. Some learners prefer to learn by listening, some prefer learning that is visual, and others by doing. Learning needs to be designed to engage all these different learners.
So, what is the solution to these dilemmas? As said earlier, blended learning that is long-term can address a number of these issues.
BLENDED LEARNING CAN INCLUDE VARIOUS ELEMENTS LIKE:
- Classroom Sessions – These sessions, though driven by a facilitator or trainer, are highly interactive. Additionally, the advantage of classroom sessions is that they facilitate peer learning.
- Virtual Learning – These virtual sessions are smaller learning nuggets that make learning accessible anywhere. With a flexible workplace, virtual learning ensures that a global audience and people who work from home can reap the benefits of the learning engagement.
- eLearning – These are online learning modules. They enable the learner to learn at their own pace and time and are a great way to supplement classroom learning.
- Coaching – Another element that is a critical part of a blended learning engagement is coaching. In addition, coaching is one-to-one and personalizes the learning for each participant to address everyone’s workplace dilemmas and bring lasting change. Coaching also helps in addressing sensitive issues that a learner may not be comfortable sharing in a group forum.
- Projects – Live Projects help in practically experiencing all the classroom learning. Participants work on live projects during the learning engagement to practice and understand any practical issues that may crop up.
All these aspects of blended learning are going to be the future of corporate learning with newer technology-driven elements being added to the learning engagement.