Designing the Right Learning Blend for Better Business Results

We’ve all heard the term “blended learning,” but just how do we apply it effectively in your specific environment?

The conventional blended learning program mixes instructor-based classes with Web-Based-Training (WBT), Virtual-Classroom-Training (VCT) and Videos on Demand (VOD) — the most common forms of Web Learning. Many organizations have been very successful combining instructor-led and web-blended training approaches—with web-learning accounting for up to 85 percent of some programs. While a shift toward web learning is certainly taking place, the future of learning is not about completely phasing out traditional techniques.

While it is great to see new technologies and methods being widely embraced, they should not be haphazardly thrown into the training mix. The various training components must be logically and strategically integrated into a blended solution that is hosted in a Learning Management System (LMS). Each learning medium should play a defined role in your overall program, and should be deployed at the right time, to the right employees, in the right markets. While positive advancements have been achieved in blended learning adoption, there are still steps your company can take to ensure you are truly training for a purpose and toward your defined business objectives.

Consider these key factors:

  • Identifying your business challenge. Be sure to accurately assess the need and build the solution from the top-down. Consider ramifications around expected employee performance metrics and capability gaps.
  • Engaging relevant stakeholders. Design, implement and manage training solutions and tactics that align performance measures and outcomes among employees, customers and partners.  Each plays a role in your solution and is affected by association—especially under the umbrella of change management.
  • Rationally measuring the business impact. Demonstrate with facts and data that learning positively impacts business performance and objectives.

Extend your Blend
In addition to improving employee performance, the right training blend can improve the recruitment and retention of new employees. Start by incorporating media that are appealing to learners. As training professionals, we see learning assets being offered online to attract new candidates, learning assessment tools being leveraged to support recruitment and certification programs, and mentoring and performance support tools being implemented to help reduce attrition during the first years of employment.

The Bottom Line
The learning function is most valuable to the business when it’s focused on key performance indicators—when there are strong linkages between well-trained employees and business results. Reconsider your traditional training programs and incorporate new technology, coaching and mentoring and performance support into a new, modern blend. What  ingredients will create the most effective blend for your organization?