This challenging initiative is striving to balance and structure the multiplication of teaching methods at our disposal so as to optimize learning. It aims to be a more effective, high-quality blended learning program.
1. Explain what’s at stake and set concrete goals
Training is a big investment. If you want to boost the engagement of both learners and managers, explain what’s at stake in the training program.
- Goals relevant to business needs. Formulate goals in terms of changes in work practices and impacts on business, so that they are in line with corporate strategy.
- Blended learning: an alternative approach. Change doesn’t just happen in a few days. Blended learning allows you to support change and observe its impact on business over a long period of time. Think about strategy: being able to set goals and define business needs gives you powerful arguments to justify your choices.
2. Don’t bring people together unless it’s really worthwhile
During the early stages, it is pointless to bring learners together. Not only do people learn just as effectively if not more when they are alone, but also the initial level of knowledge of the group is necessarily uneven. Furthermore, the amount of information learners will have to deal with will be hard to digest. Instead, bring the group together only during the second phase.
- Distance learning is not lonely learning. Webinars, forums, conference calls… there are numbers of new learning techniques that make it possible to work with others. Likewise, they are frequently less costly than moving people into a classroom.
- Different learning aspects. Common sense knowledge does not require to bring people together. However, practical expertise requires live application that make bringing people together a necessary measure. The same can be said for behavior.
3. Customize wherever possible
A group is made up of people and people change. At all stages of the process, customization is vital.
- The learning phase. Always begin a course with an assessment of the learner’s skills. This is so the learner can be given a set of prescribed resources they can use to fill in knowledge gaps.
- The practice phase. A one-to-one coaching approach puts into place a system for the trainer to give customized feedback on the techniques each learner has to develop.
- The implementation phase. Successful training requires effort. Support can be customized depending on the personality and needs of the learner.
4. Encourage learner interaction
The first phase of a blended program is individualized. However, it is still vital to begin by bringing everyone together to make them aware of their group identity and start to foster interactions.
- Kick-start interactions at the beginning of the course in a structured way.
- Make full use of the group dynamic in classroom sessions.
- Follow up on your objectives. Set up meetings to review the interactions you have set up.
5. Tap into people’s inner drive
Motivating people is a necessity. Determine the approach that is most relevant to the target group and the subject area. You can celebrate their skills or raise the bar by making each training step into a victory – in short, create a positive competitive spirit in the team.
6. Involve managers as key stakeholders
Managers determine the effectiveness of a course. This includes setting goals, clarifying requirements, and allotting time for training. Involving managers from the start is vital. To do so,
- Involve them early on by asking for their help in defining training goals. Encourage them identify with the program by letting them take part in how it’s defined and developed. Set up a special launch for them.
- Be clear about what you expect from them. Lay out the terms of the contract from the start. Include a detailed meeting schedule, expected contributions, motivation and duration of their involvement.
- Train them to provide their teams with the support they need. In short, build them into the structure of your blended learning program.
7. Make sure your trainers play the role of group facilitators and one-to-one coaches
These roles are essential to every training you will complete. Make sure the trainer assumes both of these major roles before and after the seminar. They need to do so in a clear and organized manner during each stage of the course.
When combined intelligently, the various available modalities of e-learning make it possible to customize learning paths and provide learners with the support they need. For a blended learning initiative to succeed, everyone involved required to think it through carefully and be ready to invest themselves from the word go.
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