Adaptability has become an important company value over the past five to ten years. Technology and industries change fast, and organizations have to be able to pivot to keep up with them and stay stable. The importance of this became even more profound in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to continue operating, thousands of companies had to completely restructure their way of working, and millions of employees had to learn new tools over the course of days.
This need for adaptability also extends to training programs. For example, if the above companies had no tools already for online training, they were at a disadvantage in the process of transitioning to new ways of work.
When blended learning is discussed, it is often emphasized that the training can be precisely customized to company and audience needs. But another huge advantage is the adaptability—the ability to use multiple platforms and tools for learning depending on how circumstances and situations change. While a second pandemic is unlikely in the near future, there are many ways the world is constantly shifting, and we are not yet past the pandemic. Global markets are still likely to evolve in response to our current era.
What is Blended Learning?
Blended learning is a method that incorporates both virtual and in-person learning. It’s important to note that blended learning does not describe learning which has the assistance of technology. In a blended learning model, learners have meaningful learning experiences in both virtual and in-person settings, utilizing the advantages of both.
The blended learning model has gained some media attention recently as some public schools have been using this model to reduce classroom occupancy. Schools split the class into both virtual and in-person settings. While this has been a necessary innovation that some companies may find some inspiration in during these times, this doesn’t quite display blended learning at its best. In a strategically designed blended learning system, each type of training will be taking advantage of its strengths to meet learner needs. Imagine a student learning some basic concepts virtually, coming into the classroom for hands-on learning and discussion, then utilizing the virtual platform to revisit training or use just-in-time learning. Imagine an in-person onboarding accompanied by cost-efficient monthly modules to refresh employee knowledge. This kind of training has the best of both worlds and is highly customizable.
Blended Learning Provides a Variety of Resources to Learners
Blended learning means that learners aren’t stuck with one type of training. Different learning situations call for different training. Classroom training has the advantage of interacting with an expert who can answer your questions, the benefits of group discussion, and the ability for more hands-on learning. However, it’s hard to take that training experience with you beyond a few notes on a piece of paper. Virtual training resources are useful in just-in-time learning scenarios. For example, if someone can’t remember a piece of classroom training, they are out of luck unless they have a virtual solution they can turn to.
Learners also have different learning preferences. For some people, sitting still in a classroom is difficult and not beneficial. Some people prefer not to be in front of a screen. By offering training in multiple modalities, you are more likely to cover your bases and engage each of your individual employees at some point in the learning system. Not to mention—mixing it up keeps all learners engaged.
Blended learning provides adaptability by being able to shift training based on employee makeup and training needs. Why limit yourself when blended learning has it all?
Blended Learning Can Pivot Quickly
A blended learning model means that an organization would already have the internal infrastructure in place for multiple learning modalities. That means as needs arise or times change, the company already has the tools they need to make training available in whatever format is ideal.
The pandemic is a good, if extreme, example of a reason such a pivot may occur, but there are others. If regulations change, and employees need to be quickly informed, having the appropriate learning platform available will make it easier. If an employee is unable to utilize or access a certain type of training, then other modalities are available. If work processes or workflows change, then training needs can change, and can be adjusted quickly.
Being able to pivot is key to company long-term success—blended learning can be another way to ensure that adaptability.
Blended Learning Can Serve Dispersed Audiences
Blended learning is a great way to help standardize training for dispersed audiences; for example, companies who have multiple locations, remote employees, or partner training. In-person training across multiple locations—especially if those locations start to number in the double digits—lends itself to variability and lack of standardization. Incorporating a centralized virtual training platform to go along with in-person training can balance that with standardized, scaled-out content available to all employees.
This matters in the context of adaptability because it enables companies to push out new training or information to all employees at once. If one relies on in-person trainers, those professionals may need to be trained on the new information first, which can take a lot of time. A blended learning model means employees don’t lose the benefits of in-person training while gaining adaptability.
Another reason being able to serve dispersed audiences makes training more adaptable is that it can make it easier to pivot when employee working locations change; for example, if more employees work remotely, or if new company locations open up.
Blended Learning is the Solution for Adaptable Companies
Blended learning—with the advantages of multiple platforms for training and highly-customizable options—just makes sense for companies who want to retain the benefits of multiple kinds of training while being highly adaptable. Changes in the market, and in the world, won’t stand a chance against a system that provides a variety of resources to learners, enables quick pivot of strategies, and successfully serves dispersed audiences.
If a custom, adaptable training system sounds like it suits your company needs, then we suggest reaching out to learning experts to discuss your options for building a training infrastructure based on a blended learning model.