We hate when people play favorites. Like how mom used to buy Susie ice cream for getting a B, while we got a sincere “nice work” for all our A’s. Not cool, mom…. Well, we don’t like to discriminate when it comes to eLearning versus instructor-led training either.
After all, eLearning is great! It can deliver customized training, wherever and whenever it’s needed, in a format that’s built for convenience.
On the other hand, instructor-led training is great! It makes use of the human element to provide a hands-on and interactive training experience that’s hard to replicate on a screen.
And wouldn’t you know it, sometimes you need more than you can get from either of these great solutions. That’s where a true blended solution comes in. Blended learning allows you to create a course that uses live and self-paced components to maximize the pros and minimize the cons of each of these methods. Blended learning transforms a training event into a full-on learning experience that delivers the depth of a discussion-based live course with the scalability of eLearning.
What You Can Expect
eLearning and ILT work together in a way that’s stronger than either one on its own. The blended approach is much more than the sum of its parts.
A blended strategy is flexible and customized. Rather than choosing the learning option that’s closest to your objectives and then cramming in the stuff that doesn’t quite fit that medium, a blended approach tailors the delivery platform to its content and vice versa.
Going this route lets you reap the benefits of eLearning, even when an in-person component is a must. We all know classroom time is precious: for trainers, learners, and managers alike. Blended strategies make the most of that time by focusing on what’s essential, and keeping in-person training goals as specific as possible.
This is why blended learning is highly adaptable for a distributed workforce. Bringing everyone together for a communal learning session can be challenging. This is why Blended Learning ensures the live sessions focus on meeting with a purpose. A blended learning strategy can cut the cost and time of that training by supplementing it with an eLearning portion, either as a prerequisite or a follow-up.
Logistics can be a big motivation for a blended solution. We frequently have to work around budget concerns. Some clients need training, but can’t afford all the hours the topic requires to deliver. In a blended design, we chunk content strategically; this optimizes retention and comprehension, but is also a budget-minded strategy.
Blended learning provides an opportunity to cut your training delivery costs by using instructor time only when it’s critical, and structuring the rest of your course as eLearning, reading assignments, webinars or videos.
Once again, what you have is a training strategy that blends the best of multiple platforms. A supplementary eLearning is often less expensive to develop than a course that’s all online. And by having an eLearning component, you mitigate the normally high delivery costs of live training.
Blended solutions have endless configurations, depending on your needs. For example, you can take advantage of a blended solution to prepare learners ahead of time for their face-to-face instruction by making the eLearning portion a type of “101” training that levels-up your trainees. This way, they’re ready for more challenging instruction from a trainer. This establishes competency first, and doesn’t waste instructor time on the basics. This allows you to use live face-to-face time to apply, reinforce, and evaluate the lessons from your “101” portion.
Service in Action
We worked with a client who had been flying their Philippines-based call center employees to Chicago for multi-day instructor-led training. We came up with a three-pronged blended solution that reduced their facilitated training time and boosted its effectiveness, without sacrificing the value of live practice.
Our blended solution started with an eLearning portion, which their call center people could take from the Philippines. This covered the more straightforward aspects of customer service and included branched scenarios and flow charts.
The solution then followed up with live sessions delivered remotely in virtual classrooms. Learners were able to rehearse calls and practice the finer points of their job: like understanding vocal tonality and responding to more complex customer service inquiries.
Finally, to help acclimate learners to the company culture, the company decided to invest in a short in-person in the Chicago offices, but when the trainees arrived, they had already covered the basics and were able to use their in-person training time in ways that maximized the social experience in a far shorter stay. Learners returned to the Philippines better trained than they would have been with either an eLearning or an ILT solution, and the company saw more value for their training dollars.