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Blended Learning: Scaling a Digital Learning Strategy

Covid-19 and the effects it’s had on normality, has seen a massive shift in the way we work and run our businesses and, heavily due to lockdown, a rise in remote working and the need for flexible learning. But is your business moving with the market?

The concept of digital learning isn’t new, Google Trends data shows that searches for terms such as “online learning” and “E-learning” has more than tripled in popularity in recent months, which shows that businesses and learners are keen to engage in online learning.

The need for digitalising training has accelerated over the past year, with 3t Transform being inundated with requests for us to scale their learning strategy to continue operating during Covid-19 restrictions. Now more than ever, a blended learning approach as an alternative to face-to-face training is the new normal, with multiple benefits both training businesses and learners:

Accessible – digital learning has no geographic constraints as courses can be accessed worldwide with an unlimited number of participants. There is also no distance limitations for attendees, and limits the need for travel and accommodation.

Cost effective – online learning removes the cost for travel or accommodation, removes venue or catering costs, and these savings can be better placed across the business.

Saves time – E-learning, video-learning and microlearning is often a cut-down version of a face-to-face training session, with thought provoking and relevant content, avoiding “information overload” which you may get in a classroom environment.

Profitable – online learning means a wider audience reach so more people can take a course in a shorter amount of time, so not only are you saving on costs such as travel, accommodation, venues and instructors, your workforce can be trained quickly resulting in less time away from work, and less time spent organising face-to-face training.

Flexible & convenient – employees can learn in an environment which suits them. Without time constraints, online learning is usually accessible at any time, so can be spread out over a few sessions to fit in around family or work commitments.

Transitioning to a digital learning strategy

Regardless of whether Covid-19 has been a catalyst for transitioning traditional face-to-face courses to online, businesses from all industries have achieved an impactful learning journey through a blended learning approach.

So, what do we mean by blended learning? Blended learning in essence comprises of a least two different delivery media. For example, mixing classroom training with online courses, or using practical scenario-based learning with E-learning – the possibilities are endless. The delivery of which can be incorporated over one session or, what we recommend, spread out over time for better reinforcement and retention.

When to consider a blended learning programme?

Blended learning works for training which is continually repeated, for example either as part of an onboarding plan or mandatory training, particularly if your workforce is based over a wide geographic area or if time away from work is considerably expensive.  Of course, at times an instructor lead course is essential however adopting a blended learning approach could save you significant time and money as, after the initial development investment, the cost to deliver training drops off quickly and significantly.

You should especially consider a blended learning solution so you can:

> Train a lot of people within a tight timeframe who have opposing work schedules or commitments.

> Leverage the best training methods for each piece of content in a course.

> Capture and spread knowledge from sole experts without them having to be present.

> Make multi-purposeful content that can be used time and time again across the business.

Benefits of blended learning

Using a combination of learning approaches used in a blended learning programme can stimulate your learners’ interest and increase their participation throughout their training. This not only benefits the leaner but improves business efficiencies when they put into practice what they have learned. Let’s go through some more benefits:

> Better delivery of the learning – this leads to increased productivity within teams, better performance, and safer application of new skills.

> Increased efficiencies to the organisation– this is due to increased engagement, participation levels, and performance improvement.

> Boosted knowledge retention and engagement – as there a multiple ways to learn, using different media and personalising content means learners learn and improve faster.

> Use of games and microlearning within the programme– this can take the learning and retention to the next level. Find out more about microlearning here.

> Lower employee turnover – the learners feel satisfied and confident in knowing how to do their jobs well, which translates in them staying longer with your company.

As we look to a post-COVID world, we can predict that the increase in remote and flexible working will have a permanent impact – training that will adapt to a new work/life balance. By switching your face-to-face training to online, your organisation can consolidate and optimise, adding value to your business; that is when a blended learning programme can pay dividends.

Better learning outcomes at a fraction of the ongoing cost for delivery is a win for both employees and your businesses, and it’s why leaders across all industries are choosing blended learning as their corporate learning strategy.