Blended Learning Ideas

Damian Hehire-learning

Blended Learning Ideas

      Hi, today I want to talk about one of my favorite topics: Blended Learning. Now of course we’re an e-learning company. So we talk a lot about delivering content digitally but as for instructors ourselves, we very much see the value of instructor-led classroom led or virtually led instructor-driven training. But actually I believe that the best model is often the blended approach where you’re using a hybrid of instructor-led courses as well as online delivered content and assessments and so forth. And this is the ideal kind of blended model which utilizes time most efficiently. So let’s talk about some of the topics related to this and I see it being broken into three phases we’ve got something that’s Before the training something that happens During the training and the one that is often forgotten the most is what you can do After the training so let’s go through each of these in turn.

      So, first of all beforehand so let’s say you’ve got a course starting on Monday then a week prior you might send access to a learning management system or to platform or just share some content with the students if possible, so might send for instance a biography of who’s going to be facilitating the training, to build up some authority there you might even have the students complete the questionnaire. Asking about what they expect to learn during the course, what are they hoping will be the outcomes which might allow you to tailor the training to a certain extent to meet their expectations as well, which is a great way to make sure that you’re doing what they want you to actually do during the training. Within reason of course you might send them an actual video telling them a little bit about what they can expect, and you might also start doing things like pre-assessing or what I call pre-loading. So in the pre-assessment we might send them a questionnaire or quiz, even asking them about what they know about the specific topic which might allow you to tailor the audience, tailor the content to the audience because you might have a very wide skill gap there as well, and then that could lead into having a post assessment to see you know how much they started from and where they ended up. 

      You might also give them some materials, so you might have a pre-reading list or an interactive module which is called something we specialize in to deliver them some materials before they actually start the training, so that when they get there they are as prepared as possible. so might give them some more of the theory content and then the instructor can talk more about that and we’ll talk about more than in a second, you also might give them the course outline and so forth so that’s what you might do before you actually even start the training.

      During the training now you can of course utilize electronic tools and a lot of people are more familiar with these now. You might have it in classroom polls. Of course you might use a learning management system to give a quiz, so that it can be automatically marked with question banks and so on to save some of the paperwork. You might even take feedback immediately so at the end of each day you might have a very short survey form to get immediate feedback about the course. Particularly if it’s running over multiple days so you can feed that back into the next day if they particularly like a type of exercise then you might tailor it in the following days to really hit the mark that they want to do. 

      Many would have heard the idea of flipping the classroom which comes from education, but you could apply the same in corporate or adult training as well, so you say ok tomorrow we’re going to be covering this topic. I want you to watch this youtube video, go through this module, read this material and tomorrow we’re going to discuss it. Then what we’re trying to do is optimise the time of the instructor as much as we can, which is highly valuable rather than being a professor talking and doing through bullet points, outlining or introducing a topic. Instead you might have a video of that or a module where they learn all the theory concepts they come in. 

      We have a very quick refresh of what was covered in that material. And then you can go into things that only an instructor can do, so you might have interactive scenarios discussion workshopping group work and so on that is the most powerful things often that instructor can do so get them to learn the theory before and then put it into practice in the actual classroom that’s very valuable way of doing it. Of Course at the end of the training you might issue them a certificate on the platform too, so that’s some of the things you might do during a training course. 

      Now this is often forgotten and the real lost opportunity sometimes particularly for training companies. After the course depends upon how you set things up. I often advocate to having a ongoing value proposition with someone that’s learnt with you so rather than once they finish they’ve got the certificate them walking away and that’s it why don’t you give them more value and this will help to separate you from competitors as well so you give them access perhaps to your system your learning management system where they can get access to more materials. You might do what is sometimes called external feedback where you’re giving both the learners a questionnaire one month later or a period later to determine how much you’re actually applying what you train them. 

      You might even send that to their supervisors and you can ask question how much do they benefit from the training has if it’s a soft skills course, and how much have they improved in specific particular area, sales or whatever it might be to get that external validation off what was covered during the training. Then you can really quantify and give an ROI to the training that you provide that’s very valuable and if they you’ve given them access to a platform then you might give them other resources. So you might update materials send it to them and they get the training materials all in one location for them. You might provide even support so for instance you might have weekly chat sessions, so every Wednesday one of our experts will be in line at 1:00 to 3:00 pm and you can jump on there and ask him any questions you might have. If you can support that you might have a forum which is a great way of facilitating the learner led or social learning so someone will ask a question another student will answer the question then the facilitator just cones in and goes, yes but also think about this so it’s a great way of encouraging that social learning as well.

      You might also have like monthly webinars for instance where you’re covering hot topics, and you’re providing that for free or as part of the ongoing subscription service that you have. That covers a few of the ideas that you might do after a course, so you’ve got value that you can do before during and after a training content by applying digital methodologies learning management systems delivery of content to really optimize training to either increase the outcomes from the course, get them to learn more or reduce the actual training time, which of course equals money the less time people are out of the workplace if the three-day course can become a two-day course because you’re applying some of these principles then that’s a very valuable way of providing more value to in a training setting. Thank you.