Blended learning combines the strengths of online learning and in-person training to create a richer and more collaborative learning experience. Training providers and businesses are adopting it to provide versatile vocational training and assessment that meets the requirements of today’s learners. But there’s a catch: delivering blended learning is an art that must be approached strategically.
So, what tools do you need to deliver a blended learning program? Here are our top five.
People of all ages play video games. Aside from being enjoyable, games are an excellent way to breathe new life into your training. So, gamification in training is an exceptional blended learning tool for keeping employees engaged and motivated throughout a training session.
You can use the following three different kinds of games in blended learning.
Educational games take the form of quests and follow a common theme. Movies, television shows, and casino games are a few theme examples. Employees are separated into groups and compete using mobile devices. Every employee receives instructions on a single screen, and results are displayed in real-time.
The Audience Response System (ARS)
A classroom presentation can be tedious. Instructors try to engage the learners to make it more interactive, but how many people feel interested enough to interact during a presentation? Five or even less?
This is where ARS can be an excellent blended learning tool. Each employee receives a tablet with the ARS application installed during the training session. The instructor then asks a relevant question or polls the participants, and everyone answers by typing their response on their tablet. Answers are assessed in real-time and then presented to the viewers in graph format.
This way, employees remain engaged, data is gathered for future training purposes, and everybody leaves training feeling as if their voice was heard.
As repetition has been proven to improve memory retention, it is an excellent tool to use during training. Interactive poster apps can be used to reaffirm key messages for takeaways during blended learning.
Participants, for instance, scan a QR code on a poster or a flier. They are then given access to additional information on the training topic. After memorizing this material, participants are tested on what they’ve learned through gamified quizzes. It’s a brilliant way to help learners remember essential information.
2. Digital Badges
Digital badges are a popular blended learning tool that, when used correctly, could be game-changing. Each badge can include information about the skills and achievements attained by a learner. They can assist L&D professionals in distinguishing between different courses within a learning management system (LMS) and incentivize employees to perform well through a tracking or ranking system, with the best performers earning rewards in the form of badges.
Webinars help smooth the transition between online and in-person training and are the ideal middle ground in a blended learning environment. Employee interaction, whether peer-to-instructor or peer-to-peer, is possible in the webinar, and the webinar session can also be documented for those unable to attend. Webinars are best suited for ethics training in the workplace.
4. Blog Writing
The first time you hear the term “blogs,” you might think of them as a way to enhance external communication. However, blogs can be helpful in intrinsic blended learning training for the employees of an organization.
Maintaining communication among learners during blended learning might be a difficult task, given a portion of the learning occurs online. One solution is to incorporate blog writing as a blended learning exercise. To begin, divide your trainees into teams. Then assign each team to write a blog post about a major business issue and how they would fix it step by step.
It will not only significantly improve employee and group communication skills, but it will also make your learners think deeply about handling real business problems.
The hardest part about the training is that you teach your employees new skills, which they quickly forget once they return to their workstations. Worse, they revert to their old ways. To prevent this situation, you should teach skills but also ensure that these skills are retained and employed by your learners.
This is where simulations prove to be an excellent blended learning tool—simulations aid in reinforcing what has been learned and changing employee habits. You should teach employees essential skills in whatever format you prefer. Then, create a simulation highlighting these critical skills to ensure the knowledge stays with the learners for a long time.
Remember the following points when using simulations in your training:
- Simulations should last only 10 minutes to accommodate busy schedules and keep learners’ attention.
- Ensure that these can be conducted in person and on mobile for learners who travel frequently.
- Every simulation must only focus on a single critical topic or task to prevent sensory overload.
6. Pages or Groups On Social Media
Social media pages are also excellent blended learning tools. Employees frequently sift through private Twitter or Facebook accounts, so why not include them in training? For instance, you could make a LinkedIn page or group for a specific employee sector. Add posts regularly and invite trainees to leave feedback or comments. Alternatively, you can create a YouTube channel and upload webinars, tutorials, and presentations.
Social media pages are also an excellent way to keep training at the forefront of your employees’ minds. You can run a poll on social media platforms to see what kind of training employees want to participate in in the future. You can also use social media to inform your learners about upcoming training sessions.
In-person or in-office training can be challenging to implement because you must manage differing schedules. At the same time, online learning could be inefficient because it is more challenging to keep learners engaged. Blended learning, however, creates a collaborative environment with all of the benefits of in-person and online training and none of their drawbacks! It is why it is quickly becoming a “must-have” for businesses, particularly as we move toward a post-Covid world.