The beauty of the blended learning experience lies in the fact that you get all the benefits of technology, without having to sacrifice that all-important human element. Your learners have the opportunity to access online resources whenever, wherever to enrich their eLearning experience, but still have the support and feedback they need from face-to-face instruction. Knowing how to seamlessly blend these two approaches, however, is essential. In this article, you’ll learn 11 quick tips that you can use to create effective blended learning courses for your corporate audience.
Formulate your blended learning goals in advance.
Before you even decide what technology you are going to use and how you are going to successfully blend the two learning approaches, you need to have a clear idea of what you hope to achieve. What do you want your learners to come away with when they complete the blended learning course? Do they need to develop a specific skill? What are the key takeaways they must absorb before they leave the physical classroom? What are your core learning objectives and goals? When you create your blended learning courses, every exercise and learning activity should cater to these objectives.
Specify how and when technology will be used.
You should not only figure out what technology you will be using, such as laptops, desktops, or tablets, but also how and when you will be using this technology. How does it fit into your classroom activities, and when it will be employed in the overall blended learning strategy? For example, are you going to use it as a supplemental teaching tool in the classroom, or will the learners only be using their tech tools at home? What is the main challenge or problem in your instructional strategy that technology needs to address?
Create learning activities that offer the best of both worlds.
Ultimately, the blended learning activities you develop, whether they are in the physical or virtual classroom, need to blend seamlessly together. If your learners are going to be completing a project in class, why not ask them to watch videos or read articles that will offer them a step-by-step walkthrough of the process involved. For example, they can learn online more about the concepts or ideas behind a science project before coming to class, so that they are fully prepared before they fire up the Bunsen burners. You can also encourage them to log on to online discussion groups to share their feedback and experience with their peers.
Feedback is key!
Speaking of feedback, you can gain invaluable insight about your blended learning strategy from your learners. Ask them to complete online surveys to determine the strengths and weaknesses of your blended learning strategy. Figure out what they like about the blended learning course and what they feel needs to be improved, so that you can provide them with the most benefit. Also, let them know that you welcome their suggestions, and provide them with a direct means of contact, such as an email address or contact form.
Use online assessments to identify areas of improvement.
The great thing about online assessments, as opposed to traditional printed exams, is that you can collect a wide range of data quickly and conveniently. You can figure out how long it took your learner to complete the quiz, as well as how long they spent on each individual question. Grading is also done within a matter of seconds, giving the instructors more time to provide one-on-one support to their learners. Above all else, online assessments give you the opportunity to identify areas where your learners need to improve, and then provide them with resources that can help them to turn weaknesses into strengths.
Offer supplemental resources to improve knowledge comprehension.
Technology doesn’t have to be the star of the show in a blended learning environment; in fact it can be a great resource of supplemental learning materials that improve knowledge absorption and retention. For example, if a learner is struggling with a particular subject, you can direct them to online articles, videos, webinars, and scenarios that help build their comprehension. On the other hand, if a learner is excelling and wants more information, they can take their learning a step further by hopping online and accessing the eLearning materials.
Create an effective support system for learners.
Integrating technology into your blended learning strategy for corporate training gives you the ability to offer more personalized support for your learners. While face-to-face assistance may be highly beneficial, there are some learners who appreciate the anonymity of online support. They can email or send a message via a contact form, or even post a message on the forum, to get answers to their questions and address their concerns. This also provides learners with a more immediate support resource, as they don’t have to wait until they get into the classroom to get the help they need.
Create an effective support system for corporate trainers.
The same support system rule applies to corporate trainers. Before you deploy your blended learning strategy you need to make sure that all corporate trainers involved know how to use the technology to their advantage. If they aren’t particularly tech-savvy, offer them one-on-one assistance or hold workshops that can familiarize them with the online tools you will be using. Also, make sure everyone is on the same page and understands how the technology is going to be used.
Think carefully before integrating online exercises.
Not all online learning materials are created equal. So, before you integrate an online exercise into your blended learning strategy you need to make sure it is not only interactive and entertaining, but that it meets the learning goals and objectives. For example, a PowerPoint presentation may be a supplemental learning tool for your students, but an interactive scenario may help to engage and motivate your learners more effectively.
Make it easy for all parties involved.
Keep things simple by integrating online activities that are easy to access and don’t involve a steep learning curve. If learners aren’t able to quickly and conveniently complete the exercise, then it isn’t going to offer them any real value. The technology you employ should be user-friendly for every member of your audience, not just the ones who are tech-savvy.
Keep track of learner progress.
Choose a few key points that you want to track throughout the blended learning experience, such as a particular skill set or area of improvement, then use assessments and learning activity data to keep an eye on learner progress. This can help to keep track of measurable results, which ultimately determines the effectiveness of your blended learning strategy.
Use these tips to develop blended learning courses that offer the advantages of face-to-face instruction and online courses, so that your learners can get the most out of their training endeavors. Do you need a learning management system for this? Try now the Docebo LMS free trial!Author: Christopher Pappas