As we’ve discussed previously, using an LMS for your employee training has numerous benefits that include cost-savings, better time management and an effective way to train employees in the essential skills and knowledge that they need to work within the organisation.
However, not all e-learning should be carried out alone by the learner as sometimes, expert staff may need to be involved in order to really get the message across. This is where a blended approach may work best.
What is Blended E-learning?
Basically, blended e-learning is the use of an LMS alongside other various (sometimes traditional) tools that can complement the learning and help to make the experience that little bit more effective for both the company and the learner.
As with most things, it will of course need some planning if you’re to adopt this approach for one or more of your LMS courses that you offer to employees. During the planning process, it will be necessary to think about:
- What additional tools might be necessary
- How it will impact the effectiveness of the training
- How flexible it will allow the learner to be
- How it can be implemented on the current/new platform
On that last point, it will be necessary to see if you will need to provider further training to more senior members of staff in order to allow them to help. If you already have people within the company that take care of the LMS and can give employees additional instruction, then this shouldn’t be too much of a problem. If not, you may have to invest in training for them from your e-learning service provider.
What additional scenarios might by necessary?
If you have staff that are located in different offices, or even work remotely, then setting up a virtual classroom for scheduled learning is a good idea. This means that you may need to set up video-conferencing software on the LMS in order to deliver sessions at the same time to workers in different locations so that they can collaborate.
This also gives the opportunity for a manager to get involved to help deliver the lessons and discuss any issues that may arise on the spot.
LMSs are a great way of managing learning due to their flexibility and the ability that they have to support a range of training such as Diversity Training. If you already have an LMS set up, then you should already have a pool of shared resources and documentation that learners can access at their leisure.
If you take a blended approach, with set times for some training rather than just allowing employees to access the LMS whenever they like, then it’s important that there is a range of learning materials available. This can also help to support the use of virtual classrooms both when they take place and after.
Perfect for Induction Training
If you have a large influx of staff across departments and/or difference locations, then blended learning is ideal for inductions. These don’t have to be long and involved, but can give an overview of what is expected of the new employees and help them to find information that may be necessary to their job.
This is then supported further by the LMS and ideally, using social tools on the intranet so that all material is easily discoverable and has material that helps to support ongoing learning.
Social Tools in the Enterprise
These can be integrated with the LMS so that employees have access to:
- Wikis for various departments
- Social profiles for employer and employees
- Video and audio material to help with training
- Collaboration tools to increase productivity
- Company policy documentation
All of these, made readily available to the employee, will help them to carry out their job more effectively and if they are made aware of this at the induction stage, it can help to eliminate the ‘I didn’t know about that’ scenario that often frustrates line managers.
This places more responsibility on the employee to ensure that they carry out their job correctly and isn’t a bad thing from any perspective. Give an employee the power and tools to ensure that they can make themselves valuable to the business and they generally will.
There are many tools that can be used when taking a blended approach to e-learning and we have touched upon some of them here. In future posts, we will discuss in more detail what tools can be used, different scenarios and the additional benefits to the business.