The pairing of face-to-face instruction with learning technology makes for an intrepid combination, but it’s only truly unbeatable if there is a successful corporate training strategy behind it all. Professionals in learning and development have to overcome many obstacles, but one of the most serious ones is corporate learners who are distracted, reluctant, and not so tech savvy.
Identifying ways to integrate learning technology tools in effective ways is a complicated task and not done quickly. On the other hand, a number of best practices in blended learning means you can implement programs that boost the performance of employees and even inspires them to take personal advantage of learning technology.
Interactive training can greatly help a startup grow big, and here are seven ways how it can be helpful.
1- Keep Your Focus On Objectives; Learning Technology Follows Suit:
One very typical mistake that happens in blended learning is someone redoing their total training strategy, including all the materials, just to fit it all around a particular learning technology. The learning objectives and performance goals need to be what takes center stage at all times. In short, the tools and learning technology involved need to be serving the training goals, rather than training goals being changed to just show off the tech. In an ideal situation, the learning technology you have chosen is going to slip seamlessly into your larger training plan so that employees get simulations, interactive scenarios, and exercises which complement and even enhance the greater training regimen.
If you find yourself implementing a particular learning technology just so you can showcase the field’s latest and greatest advancements, then you should totally rethink how you’re using blended learning to accomplish the objectives of the organization.
2- Set Clear Expectations And Goals Ahead Of Time:
You need to have a crystal-clear idea of just what learning technologies will see use, on top of how you are going to use them. Will you be using laptops during an assessment process in order to expedite grading and to allow testing activity that leans more towards interactivity? Do you like the idea of giving professionals access to their online manuals and tutorials through their mobile devices when they’re on an actual sales floor? Most of all, just how do you specifically expect your corporate learners will use the technology you provide to improve the professional performance? You must have performance goals and expectations which are clearly defined and in place prior to rolling out any of your program of blended learning.
According to Allen Communications corporate learners need to know the why behind the learning technology tools, how they can personally find them of benefit, and what role the tech serves in the bigger picture. If you’re using technology simply as a supplemental resource in the training, then be sure to clarify for them when to use the technology tools and what parts of your program are still going to be face-to-face.
3- Be Flexible In Your Implementation Strategy:
If a corporate strategy for blended learning is going to be successful, it needs to be fluid. Adaptability is necessary to keep pace with the constantly changing needs of employees or the larger organization. Get audience feedback so that you can take the pulse of what works and what doesn’t following the early implementation of your blended learning regimen.
In truth, you might even want to get things going with an employee focus group that test out your materials and tools so you can iron out the kinks prior to an official launch. Also, let your employees voice their thoughts and feelings so you can fine tune things. It’s helpful to have an effective feedback system that involves surveys and suggestion forms so that professionals can point out individual areas that might need improvement.
4- Develop Online Assessments That Are Effective:
Assessments are how you find out if employees actually absorbed and retained the information you presented them or if they’re going to need more support down the road. Work performance itself is often a sound measuring stick of effectiveness, but you can mitigate testing process risk using simulations, branching scenarios, multiple-choice exams, and other interactive assessments. Instead of letting employees head into client or customer interactions without knowing that they’re ready, you can gauge their mastery and understanding prior to cutting them loose.
5- Research The Preferences And Needs Of Employees:
You have to balance an organization’s performance objectives and goals with the personal preferences and needs of the corporate learners you are teaching and working with. Do on-the-job observation, conduct individual interviews, and send surveys out so you can identify the specifics they need from your corporate training exercises. What sort of tools and technology do they prefer?
How familiar are they with technology in general? Do they resist blended learning styles? Or do they have the capacity to jump in? You also have to figure out special requirements that might need to be met. Some employees might have learning disabilities, need subtitles, or even speak something other than English as their primary language.
6- Cultivate A Community Of Blended Learning:
Employees need to feel like they’re part of a bigger community which supports training assisted by technology. One highly effective way to make this happen is through the cultivation of a blended learning culture in which employees not only participate but actively collaborate. Create an Internet forum as a place where employees can communicate are ask questions with their instructors and colleagues around the clock. The right social media strategy means that employees will also have the opportunity to get routine updates and have another place to share their thoughts.
7- Offer Instant Online Support Resources:
There are going to be times when an employee needs a guide that leads them step-by-step through completing their work task, or if they just want to learn particular procedures or policies better. Blended learning might be at its most powerful here. You can provide employees support resources that fall into the ‘moment of need’ category so they won’t wind up waiting for scheduled training sessions.
Let them access simulations and view interactive presentations or even manuals themselves directly through their work terminals or mobile technology. You also might want to put up a website that provides the guidance and information needed to use their tools properly, including everything in your program of blended learning. Also, add supplemental resources so they’re able to build upon their body of knowledge in terms of work skills.
All these tips can be useful to you if you want to introduce learning technology for the corporate learners you work with. Give them the ability to handle work-related challenges, and they’ll start honing their skills, all because of your newly-implemented program of blended learning.