Blended Learning in Groups May Be More Effective
A common mistake among learning and development managers is believing that an investment in blended learning is a “set it and forget it” proposition. As long as employees are using the system correctly, they should be meeting their goals… right?
Companies are finding that if they build their blended learning solutions around groups, or even pairs, of employees, that learners are more apt to retain the information. This is thought to be because working with other people as well as online helps learners apply the information to their day-to-day jobs.
A recent article in Chief Learning Officer identified three different blended learning modalities that might work for you.
A learning community is a group of employees who might not work together, but have a common goal.
Facilitating a company’s onboarding process is a good example. New hires might be presented information online or through an advisor on such things as HR best practices and benefits management. New online solutions are intelligent enough to prescribe topics to each individual group member. Then the group has people in similar situations, as well as the advisor, in which to work with to go deeper in their learning.
In a learning cohort, the group is smaller and tend to be working toward a common, job-related goal. Often, these learners might be in the same department working toward a common certification or skill.
In this case, online learning not only facilitates the information delivery, but might also facilitate the conversation between the group (since the employees with the common need might not physically work together). This saves money compared to sending each employee to a common location for in-person training.
Learning pairs closely resemble a mentoring relationship. The information might be presented online or by the trainer/mentor. Then the learner has a person to bounce ideas off and the mentor can observe the progress of the learner as they perform actual job tasks.
Instead of a “sit and get”, the learner is practicing their new skills every day under the watchful eye of a knowledge colleague, not an unfamiliar trainer who will be gone to the next job tomorrow.
Blended learning has reached the point where companies and HR departments are starting to be able to be creative in how they approach employee development. These modalities are evidence that blended learning can take many forms depending on the goal.