Is a blended e learning approach the ultimate workplace learning solution?

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Adaptability: defined by Oxford as “​the quality of being able to change or be changed in order to deal successfully with new situations,” this trait has become the hallmark of successful individuals and organisations alike. Flexible working is a great example of how businesses and employees are finding agile solutions to rigid, outdated norms. Workplace learning could also benefit from a similar approach: whether it’s compliance-related training, role-specific learning or cohort-based training, a blended e learning approach has the potential to make your voluntary and mandatory training more accessible, enjoyable, and effective.
What is blended e learning?

What is blended e learning?

Blended e learning combines instructor-led training with learner-led training. A blended e learning approach gives learners the freedom to choose how and when they consume learning content, while adhering to the deadlines and milestones you’ve set.

A typical programme of blended e learning will include group classroom or virtual training sessions, led by an instructor, hosted at particular times, as well as learner-led independent study, to be completed digitally or practically, at a time that suits them. This approach enables learners to prepare for and raise questions at live training events, while also studying at a pace and in a way that’s most in tune with their preferences.

This allows learners who are based further afield or working fully remotely to have the same level of access to workplace learning as those who are office-based. Furthermore, learners have access to the training material after each session, so if there’s any information they want to revisit it’s available for them as needed.

Blended e learning gives learners the tailored learning experiences they deserve, and helps organisations keep morale high (and overheads low). A blended learning approach will help you to accommodate vast and varied learning preferences and offer greater accessibility across remote, office-based, and hybrid workforces. This could also support you in enhancing your employer brand, helping you attract and retain talented employees more effectively.

Blended e learning content types and activities

Blended e learning content types and activities

  • eLearning modules for structured training, including microlearning courses
  • Video-based content for visual context and explanations, great for conveying complex theories and abstract ideas
  • Audio-based e learning for the visually impaired, and to support various learning preferences
  • Workbooks which are great for testing applied knowledge and skills
  • Documents for in-depth reading and ease of reference, and are particularly useful for ensuring leaders understand legislation and regulatory policies
  • Workshops, whether virtual or in-person, offer learners the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of a newly learned skill or topic in a peer-to-peer environment
  • Webinars offer lively debates and often form part of ‘unstructured training’ activities
  • Assessments help to evaluate progress and understanding, and can highlight areas for additional training needs
  • Quizzes and surveys are a fun, interactive way of testing knowledge and gathering meaningful feedback and insights
  • On-the-job learning allows learners to improve their performance in their current and future roles without taking up valuable hours, in or out of work
  • Coaching and mentoring, a fundamental part of social learning, creates a network of knowledge based on the expertise within your organisation, and fosters meaningful connections between mentors and mentees

Related: What are the benefits of eLearning gamification? >

what challenges are organisations facing when implementing blended learning?

Barriers to success: what challenges are organisations facing when implementing blended learning?

Adopting a blended learning approach can be challenging, regardless of the size of your organisation, industry or sector. Some of the most common barriers to successfully implementing a blended e learning approach include:

  • A tendency to offer more in-person or virtual training opportunities; this can be especially difficult for employers with a majority of remote (or, inversely, office-based) employees
  • Failing to facilitate the ‘learning transfer’, in which learners are given the opportunity to practice and apply their new skills and knowledge in a low-risk environment
  • Overloading learners with information and irrelevant training activities. The goal of blended e learning is to reduce the cognitive load and offer learners a less time-consuming way to achieve specific outcomes
  • Offering impersonal, irrelevant training. Often, employers will roll out organisation-wide training that may only be relevant to a specific group or role. These broad learning journeys are also rarely customised to accommodate learning styles, let alone to help learners achieve their individual goals
  • Using technology that’s not fit for purpose. A learning management system (LMS) must allow employers to deliver virtual learning experiences of the same quality as in-person learning

how Ciphr LMS supports blended learning

Overcoming obstacles: how Ciphr LMS supports blended learning

Ciphr LMS can host and enable access to a range of content types, including video, eLearning courses, workbooks, assessments, and on-the-job learning activities. Micro learning is an especially useful way to offer concise training to help learners achieve specific outcomes in less time; your learners will love it as much as your leaders.

You can also create face-to-face and virtual workshops for learners to book, notify users of upcoming classes, and automatically issue joining instructions. Ciphr LMS can integrate with leading communication platforms, making it simpler than ever to deliver a seamless blended learning experience to your people.

And you can invite learners to apply their newfound skills and knowledge with quizzes and assessments, or to take their upskilling to a new level through social learning, by enabling them to connect with mentors.

You can also tailor learning journeys based on individual goals with Ciphr LMS: the skills gap analysis tool allows you to highlight critical skills gaps and deliver learning based on individual needs and organisational goals. You can segment learning based on role, desired learning outcome, or even learning preference, too.

Ciphr LMS seamlessly integrates with other key software, including HR software and employee onboarding software, enabling your organisation to deliver learning journeys to the right learners, at the right time.

How do you implement blended e learning?

How do you implement blended e learning?

To successfully implement blended e learning, take a measured approach and don’t be afraid to ‘pivot’. A crucial part of implementing a blended learning strategy is to facilitate open conversations between employees, their managers, and other stakeholders. Consider broadening your existing training options as a starting point – eg offer a virtual classroom alongside in-person events to gauge interest, and be sure to gather feedback to assess learner sentiment. Once you’ve got the basics right, you can scale your blended learning approach.

Related: The essential LMS implementation plan: expectations, estimated timelines and exceptions

Is blended learning effective?

Is blended learning effective?

Blended learning is effective because it offers a solution that benefits both employees and employers. Hybrid learning offers a more accessible professional development option to learners regardless of their location, ability, or training needs. Giving employees the option to attend training virtually or in-person empowers them, provides flexibility, and creates a ‘pull’ toward learning. Removing the rigid barriers of a ‘traditional’ classroom setting and introducing the option to attend virtually ensures that all employees can fulfil their learning requirements without disrupting their workflow. Employers will benefit from decreased business disruption, improved employee engagement, and less wasted spend on training activities. Organisations also stand to benefit from higher talent retention and productivity levels.

How can we encourage blended e learning?

How can we encourage blended e learning?

If you are new to blended learning, consider a phased approach. Give employees the option to attend training sessions in the way they prefer (in-person or virtual) and offer them an idea of how each might differ from what they are accustomed to. If you are looking to scale your blended learning, encourage employees to share their experiences as ‘social proof’ to motivate others. You can also use your LMS to educate and inspire employees to explore the options that are open to them. A good online learning management system helps to ensure your virtual training delivers the same memorable, high-quality experiences as in-person sessions.

Eager to adapt your e learning and transform your organisation?

Eager to adapt your e learning and transform your organisation?

Introducing blended learning doesn’t need to be an overwhelming task. You can choose to implement it slowly, or at scale. Our learning specialists will help you create unmatched learning experiences, elevating your people, and in turn, allowing you to reach your organisational objectives.

Request a demo today to see Ciphr LMS in action, or download our brochure to explore Ciphr’s range of HR, learning, and LMS solutions.

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This was originally published on Digits.co.uk, a Ciphr Company