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Adding value with blended learning


Blended learning, because it encompasses such a wide range of methodologies, can be extremely useful to the training designer for training in:

  • Skills (practical and technical)
  • Knowledge (procedural and informational)
  • Behaviours (conceptual and behavioural)
  • Attitudes (behavioural and developmental)

Providing trainers are supported by their hierarchies in terms of resources, investment and enthusiasm, by accessing blended learning strategies they can develop new professional skills and exercise a creativity that has not always been present for them as a profession. Clear learning objectives and assessment and evaluation tools have to be developed at the beginning of the process of course, but how can blended learning add value to what is provided to the company and the end-user?

Added value

Whenever processes are changed or altered, it is important to be able to demonstrate the added value gained by the operation. Whether the thrust for blended learning has come from the training department, the board room or the shop floor, within most workplaces it still often represents a significant change in practice and necessitates a change in culture for the organisation concerned.

Unless you work in a 'learning organisation' which is fully functioning or with well-established, tried and tested blended learning programmes in place, you may be faced with the task of justifying your choice of training methodology (and the possible cash investment to bring the technology up to the required level).

The arguments range from the purely personal (our employees get the chance to learn anything they want) to the purely financial (we will save 50 trainer days this year) but will probably include:

  • The programme will motivate people to become more effective in future
  • The programme will allow for personal development, and more rounded employees are more effective employees
  • It utilises people's strengths as learners and seeks to minimise the weaknesses
  • The outcome will more closely follow the organisational mission than has happened hitherto
  • The flexibility allows us to respond rapidly to new training needs

Once you begin your programmes you will be required both to deliver value and to demonstrate value.

The target audience

With blended learning on offer, it is more important than ever to research your target audience and discover who they are and how best they learn.

It is advisable to build a comprehensive profile of the target group asking questions such as:

  • How many people need to be trained?
  • Where are they geographically situated?
  • How much time will they be able to devote to the programme?
  • What are their learning styles?
  • What will motivate them to engage in learning?
  • Are they experienced or new workers?
  • Do any of them have any physical disabilities which need to be accommodated?
  • Are they sufficiently IT literate?
  • Do they have access to the required resources?

Remember: The more that is known about the target audience, then the more successful the programme can hope to be.

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