Manager: We need a better system for onboarding our new hires.
Trainer: Ok, let’s schedule an orientation class Monday at 10 a.m. in conference room A. I’ll revisit the agenda and tweak it a bit. They just aren’t paying attention most of the time.
Manager: Hey, what’s all this I am hearing about something called blended learning? Does that mean they do it all on their own on their cell phones or something?
Trainer: Uh...no. I don’t think so. We don’t really have experience with that here, so I’ll just set up the class, ok?
Lather, rinse, repeat! It happens all the time in so many organizations. Let’s jump to the familiar even if we know it isn’t really meeting the goals of the program—much less the goals of the learners.
When it comes to blended learning, the number of choices can be overwhelming—self paced e-learning, webinars, asynchronous classrooms, synchronous classrooms, mobile learning, coaching, and the list goes on. How do we decide what to do next?
As experienced trainers, we have so many tools available to us already. We know how to design learning based on solid learning objectives: Whether you still love ADDIE or have moved on to SAM, it is a skill we have. You know how to assess your learners: Is it best to test on paper or demonstrate that skill? You know how to work with SME’s, even if getting them to get it on paper might sometimes be an issue! All of these ideas are what goes into developing a successful blend. Still, how do you make it all work?
The way to be successful at implementing a blended solution is to have a systematic approach to your participants’ learning journey. A solid blended design must be approached from that perspective: What do my participants need, when do they need it, and what is the best method to deliver the information? Note here that the answer is not always the latest and greatest whiz-bang, tech toy, but what is best for the learner! For example, an app for their phone may work for some, but what if someone doesn’t have the right operating system to run it? That can often be a tough lesson for you (and your boss) to learn.
This systematic approach is all part of the ASTD Blended Learning Certificate program. This program does not just tell you about an approach to a blend, but actually gets you immersed in that blend. The program takes place with asynchronous elements in advance, one-and-a-half days of face-to-face programming, and then a synchronous virtual session as a group. As learners, you will be fully engaged in the learning process.
I will be leading a group in Boston this August. You also can check out other sessions scheduled throughout the year here. Invest in your learning now, and your organization can reap the rewards as you provide first-class education to your learning population.