Tips And Best Practices To Create Highly Effective Blended Training Program Design

6-Tips-and-Best-Practices-To-Create-Highly-Effective-Blended-Training-Program-Design-EI-Design

What Is The Blended Training Approach?

Put simply, blended training (or hybrid training) combines the usage of face-to-face, Instructor-Led Training (ILT) with online training (that is, eLearning or mLearning).

  • The blended training approach offers the best of both formats and you can “blend” them to create a high-impact corporate training.
  • Furthermore, it provides tremendous flexibility on how you can combine both ILT and online components in a manner that serves your learning mandate most effectively.
  • It is learner-centric and allows them a higher degree of control on how they can learn and at the pace they want to learn.
  • From an organization’s perspective, the blended training approach enables them to reach a wider audience in a shorter time. It also enables them to cut costs, yet provide a higher engagement and accessibility for the learners.

Are There Any Specific Models That Can Be Used To Determine How To Offer Blended Training?

While blended training has its significant advantages, a lot depends on the approach that you use to “blend” the face-to-face or ILT components with online training (eLearning or mLearning).

At EI Design, we have created three models that we use to determine how you should blend the two components. Our blended training design approaches would map to one of the following:

  • Model 1: Significant face-to-face, ILT training and a small component of online training.
  • Model 2: An even mix of face-to-face, ILT training and online training.
  • Model 3: Significant online learning with short and focused face-to-face, ILT training.

How Can You Determine What Degree Of Blending Would Be Most Effective?

As I see it, effective blending is both art and science.

Let me share some of the techniques we have been using. I share a Step-by-Step Toolkit that is particularly useful when you are looking at first-time conversion of an ILT program to a blended approach.

Step by Step Toolkit for First-Time Conversion of ILT into Blended Training

 

Step 1: Determine Why Blending Is Required

At this stage, you need to identify the triggers that are prompting the need to transform the training format and more significantly:

  • Are there any existing challenges in the existing delivery that must be offset in the new format?
  • What are the expected gains from the new format?

Step 2: Validate The Impact Of The New Approach (That Is, The Degree Of Blending)

  • Would the learners align to the new delivery format and get an enhanced value?
  • Would the program mandate be met?

Step 3: Identify The Required Technology Support

As you transition from face-to-face, ILT training to a varied degree of online training, you need to evaluate the options for delivery. This would include finalizing aspects like:

  • Virtual Platform to offer VILT.
  • LMS to offer online training.

Step 4: Review The Program Mandate And The Existing Content To Determine Its Suitability To Adapt To A Blended Delivery

Besides identifying the goals, the approach (the degree of blending), the technology, and the desired impact, you also need to do an effective mapping of classroom-based activities and exercises to online format.

Step 5: Assessment Strategy

You also assess the current Assessment strategy and how it should be adapted to a blended delivery.

Step 6: Once These Aspects Are Covered, You Are Ready To Go

  • Create the blended training program design.
  • Create an approach plan to implement it: Pilot, take feedback, and deploy.
  • Feedback and further improvement: After a suitable time, poll the learners and business units to determine its impact. Based on this feedback, determine if we need to recalibrate the previous blend.

Are There Any Best Practices That Can Be Used To Increase The Impact Of Blended Training?

There are several best practices that we have used successfully in creating effective blended training program designs. Here are a few best practices from our repository:

Before you begin: 

  1. Establish learner roles and responsibilities: As is true for a transition or transformation, there should be clarity on how learners and the organization would be able to leverage the blended training.
  2. Provide clear instructions and communication for the program.
  3. Create an effective support system for the learners as well as the corporate trainers.

Lay the foundation: 

  1. Strategy.
    The blended training goals need to be identified in advance, and these should also reflect the intended gains expected from blended training. The goals should be SMART (that is, Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time bound).
  2. Approach plan. 
    Start small, but factor for its scaling.
  3. Identify the right project and identify the right team to manage. 
    Early success matters and provides crucial feedback to improve in future. Select a project that adapts more easily to a blended training model and can demonstrate clear gains. Have a dedicated team to monitor and manage.
  4. Checkpoint for continuous improvement.
    Use the ongoing tracking and checkpointing to gather feedback for further improvement.

What Are The Tips That You Can Use To Create Highly Effective Blended Training Programs?

The impact of blended training program design can be enhanced by using the following tips:

  1. Develop content in a manner that allows you to calibrate the mix of blending easily.
    This is vital for you to process the feedback and keep stepping up the impact of your blended training program.
  2. Create learning activities that leverage on the power of both delivery formats.
    For instance, a role play (in a workshop) can be supplemented with online branching scenarios. This blending enables you to reinforce the learning and check how the learner is able to apply the primary learning in different contexts.
  3. Use the online resources to support multiple mandates.
    You can use them to prep the learners before a workshop. You can also provide these as online reference materials that they can use post the workshop and on the job.
  4. Tracking.
    The blended delivery facilitates keeping track of learner progress far more easily than ILT training. By the same token, it also enables you to share feedback with equal ease. Use these two aspects to keep the learners in sync with the learning mandate.
  5. Assessment strategy.
    Online assessments provide you with an approach with which you can test and share feedback instantaneously. You can randomize the questions, have different set of questions for different profiles, and decide which ones should be formative/summative.

 

Tips and Best Practices to Create Highly Effective Blended Training Programs

As I had mentioned earlier in this article, crafting the right blended training program design is both art and science. I hope the toolkit, the tips, and the best practices outlined here provide you the required ammunition to create highly effective blended training program designs. If you need any further assistance, do contact me at apandey@eidesign.net.

Source:

https://www.eidesign.net/best-practices-blended-training-program-design/

How To Use Mobile Learning To Increase Employee Engagement And Boost Performance

How-Can-Mobile-Learning-Increase-Employee-Engagement-And-Boost-Performance-EI-Design

Modern-day employees expect a lot more from trainings. Organizations need flexible and exciting approaches to keep them hooked. This article outlines how you can use Mobile Learning to increase employee engagement and boost employee performance.

Using Mobile Learning To Increase Employee Engagement And Boost Performance 

Mobile learning or mLearning involves the use of mobile technology to enable learning anytime and anywhere on mobile devices at the learners’ own pace. Generally, the same training would be available across multiple devices (desktops, laptops, tablets, smartphones, and so on), enabling learners to learn on the device of their choice.

Just about everything has gone mobile today and Learning is no exception. The number of takers for mobile learning is only increasing, and this is on account of:

  • Changing learner profiles.
    The millennial generation is now a significant part of the workforce and they are addicted to mobile devices.
  • How learners want to learn.
    Learners today need “just-in-time” information and instant gratification of their infotainment needs.
  • Changing learning device preferences.
    Today’s learners look for the flexibility to learn on the device of their choice.
  • Maturing of tools and technology.
    Today, there is no dearth of authoring tools, platforms, Learning Management System, and other technology to support mobile learning (supporting both adaptive and responsive designs).

Why Does It Make Sense To Adopt Mobile Learning To Increase Employee Engagement?

Working styles and preferences in organizations are undergoing a sea change. Taking the mobile route to working is catching up big time.

Adam Kingl, Director of Learning Solutions at the London Business School says that flexibility is “the number one reason” why employees of today join a workplace. With exposure to modern day communication methods and having been accustomed to communicating with people anytime and from anywhere, flexibility at work is something that employees expect companies to provide them with, Kingl says. It is no longer a perk or a reward, he observes.

Besides, factors such as high speed and inexpensive broadband/Internet access, maturing of technologies, and increasing concerns with regard to work-life balance are prompting employees to look for employers who would provide them with a “no strings attached” approach to work as far as presence in the workplace and flexibility to work/learn from any location is concerned.

With its flexibility, ability to offer Performance Support at the time of need, and several other factors, mobile learning is just the dose organizations need to pump up employee engagement.

5 Ways To Use Mobile Learning To Increase Employee Engagement

As we have seen, mLearning or mobile learning easily maps to what learners want and how they want to learn.

You can multiply the impact of your strategy by weaving in the following elements that have a direct bearing on employee engagement:

1. Gamification.
It is a mature approach today and can be used to uplift almost all corporate training needs. Gamification for serious learning brings in high engagement, high completion rates, and sticky learning. All these lead to an increased probability of application of the acquired learning on the job, just what the Learning and Development teams dream of.

2. Interactive Videos.
They offer an interesting step-up to the classic video based training. Interactive videos flip the passivity of standard video based learning to a richer, interactive, and stickier learning experience.

3. Microlearning.
With dwindling attention spans and higher distractions for the average learner, the answer lies in offering bite sized learning that is available to learners exactly at the time of need. mLearning or mobile learning can be used for both formal training as well as performance support (just-in-time learning aids). The flexibility of accessing this in between meetings or when one is stuck goes a long way in ensuring these nuggets or micro courses get completed and internalized.

4. Millennial-Centric Learning.
mLearning or mobile learning intrinsically appeals to the increasing millennial workforce. You can use the cues of their traits, learning styles, and learning preferences to create a customized strategy that will deliver the required learning experience.

5. Mobile Apps For Learning.
Given the prevalent use of apps in daily life, it comes as no surprise that usage of mobile apps for learning is gaining momentum. They can be used for formal training but their strength lies in their use as Performance Support Tools.

6. Social Learning.
Collaborative learning is accepted as a strong methodology for adult learners. Today, mLearning or mobile learning makes it easier for learners to discuss, deliberate, share, collaborate, and learn.

How Can You Use Mobile Learning Or mLearning To Boost Employee Performance?

The key advantage of mLearning or mobile learning is its flexibility. Learners can access it on the go and precisely when they need it. Access to this information in a format that is easy to review, internalize, and apply further enhances its value to organizations and learners.

The improvement in employee performance has a direct co-relation to accessibility of learning, its availability in a format that learners find exciting, and its learnability or learning effectiveness.

Once these are in place, there would be application of the acquired learning and a gain for learners as well as businesses.

To boost employee performance, you can use mLearning or mobile learning as follows:

1. Formal Training. 

Do not be limited to the structured and traditional formats of delivery but provide further flexibility to learners through Learning paths. Having access to learning as a continuum (rather than discrete sessions) goes a long way in using learners to apply and achieve a demonstrable gain. You can also opt for specific Learning portals that can leverage on microlearning, gamification, and social learning to multiply the impact.

2. Performance Support Tools (PSTs). 

These on the job, just-in-time learning aids that are available to learners within their workflow (and at the precise moment of need) have shown to create the required behavioral change. You can also use them to re-inforce learning by engaging with learners post the formal training.

3. Digitize ILT. 

You can embed elements of mLearning or mobile learning into the traditional ILT delivery and see the impact you seek. This can range from pre-workshop collateral to exercises, simulations, role-plays during the workshop to its workshop assessments. You can retain the connect between instructors and participants as well as between participants and use this channel to provide learning nuggets well after the workshop. All these measures have a direct impact on learning, application, and the desired behavioral change.

What Are The New Or Trending Approaches That Can Increase Employee Engagement And Boost Employee Performance?

My personal recommendations are to integrate the following aspects in your learning strategy:

  • Personalization.
    The learning design in mLearning or mobile learning should include feedback along with reinforcement or supplement options. This personalization shows a manifold increase in both learner engagement and their performance gain.
  • Learning portals.
    As highlighted earlier, you should invest on Learning portals for your key learning or change management initiatives. You can leverage on microlearning, Gamification, and Social learning to multiply the impact.
  • Content curation.
    I believe this is the next big thing to watch out for. It provides learners to curate content, create personalized learning paths, bookmark assets they can use on the job, and share these inputs with their peers/seniors. Organizations can use this to support primary training initiatives and create portals that provide information at the time of need.

Summary

Mobile learning is a powerful approach that allows learners to experience exciting learning with the kind of flexibility they desire, increasing employee engagement and boosting learner performance, thereby resulting in an increased ROI on training.

I hope this article provides you with insights on how you can use mobile learning to increase employee engagement and boost learner performance. If you need any further assistance, do contact me at apandey@eidesign.net.

Source: https://www.eidesign.net/how-to-use-mobile-learning-to-increase-employee-engagement-and-boost-performance/

Top 3 Common Mobile Learning Challenges For Corporate Training

Mobile learning is turning out to be the most preferred cup of tea in the eLearning industry. Mobile learning or mLearning when blended with ingredients like microlearning, social learning and personalized learning can be the most effective corporate training strategy. Proliferation of mobile devices and the fact that it is apt to the current generation…

It’s just ‘learning’ now. OK?

So, we’ve had eLearning, e-learning, elearning, and ‘e learning’.

We’ve had mobile learning, mLearning, mlearning. But not ‘m learning’.

(We’ve also got the VLE, LMS, CMS, and many more besides, but that’s for another post).

I believe we are now at a place with web development where we should drop able all these different ways of saying ‘learning’. We should not need to be talking about the different platforms or devices students use to access their ‘learning’; they should all be scalable and accessible to accommodate students using a smartphone, tablet, laptop, desktop (or any other device I can’t think of now). Access to learning resources should be across the board, easy, and not determined by the device. Pretty much everything the students need is now online – books, resources, notes, assignments – so the moniker of ‘e’Learning (for ‘electronic’) is void. Students have devices now which do not tether them to either a physical location or a specific IT network that I’m pretty sure we can drop the mLearning (for ‘mobile’) too.

So, where are you taking your LEARNING now?

Image source: Alan Levine (CC BY 2.0)

Mobile Learning vs eLearning

I like infographics, but I don’t like this one on the LearnDash website: Mobile Learning vs eLearning. I find it inaccurate, or at least misleading. Here’s the comment I left, in case it doesn’t get published:

I disagree – to compartmentalise tablet or laptop users as either one or the other is misleading to people wanting to know about new online learning techniques based on their preferred method/device of learning. Is a laptop user, sat on a train, not mobile? Is a tablet user sat at home on the sofa still mobile, or just too lazy to turn the laptop/desktop computer on?

In an age of accessible web design, and course design, many organisations design their materials, indeed their learning platform, to offer the same experience to their students irrespective of the device used. In fact, this is key to the learning that a student is not disadvantaged for using their own device, irrespective of it’s age, operating system, screen size, etc.

And this doesn’t even cover the statement “eLearning is designed to be more static and be accessed at your desk.” Really? In this day and age, you still think that? What do you think? Am I being harsh?

Image source: Paul (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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