Blended learning is not a new concept. Humans have always preferred to learn using a range of methods and as many of our five senses as possible. If we take blended learning in the context of learning a language, for example, we can easily demonstrate this.
Imagine you want to learn Italian, French or Spanish. You would probably buy a phrasebook, listen to a CD, embark on some e-learning or even enrol on a course. You may even try and mix with native speakers so you can really get to grips with the subtle nuances of the language.
Blended learning works equally well for most development programmes within organisations but it is particularly beneficial for management courses and leadership training, performance management and ‘soft skills’ training.
Designing a bespoke training programme with a blended approach means that you combine a number of different training delivery methods in order to help people to learn effectively. Thankfully this is a lot easier to do than it used to be. With the explosion of all things digital we now have access to every kind of learning opportunity through webinars, videos and E-learning packages.
Combined with the more traditional classroom training approach, there are a variety of additional ways to ensure that the training achieves maximum impact for the learner. We know that people have individual preferences when it comes to learning. Blended learning recognises the fact that there are Activists, Theorists, Reflectors and Pragmatists on any development programme and you are, therefore, more likely to meet their specific needs using this approach.
In addition there has been a lot of research conducted around the importance of repetition on the impact of sustained learning. Blended learning is essentially about giving out the same messages in different formats. The result is that information is much more likely to be assimilated and retained and lead to greater performance improvement.
If we take an example of how blended learning might work on say, a bespoke leadership training programme, this is how it might look:-
- Pre course questionnaire – psychometrics, personality assessments, skills gap analysis
- Pre course knowledge preparation – online articles, blogs, research papers
- Classroom training sessions – trainer led modular training course
- Recommended reading lists – books, kindle, apps
- Post course follow up – webinar with key learning points
- Knowledge bank – E-learning modules as refreshers following the course
As far as accelerated performance improvement goes, you can’t get much better than a blended learning programme. Through utilising a whole host of training delivery methods you are appealing to everyone’s individual learning style and reinforcing key learning points through repetition and practical application.
Thales Training & Consultancy specialise in developing bespoke business training using a blended learning approach.