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Michiel Klønhammer



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How to kick-start a blended training


I was recently - rather suddenly - asked to help introduce Scrum to a management team of a large multinational. So I suddenly had to prepare a training course for an overworked management team with little time and little patience. No time and high expectations... you’ve probably been there at some point or the other.
In this case, I was asked to start with a two day session and then continue on from there. I needed to provide the actual ‘class based’ training but also wanted to use online components to support the process. 
In a word, I decided to blend the training from the very start. I created an online workspace and got to work. As I’m one of the co-founders LearningStone, the platform for blended learning, it felt like a taste of my own medicine. Would this work?

My goals in this phase were:
1. Get the participants to commit to the learning
2. Get to know the participants before the first class based sessions
3. Get them to know me before the first class based sessions.
4. Flip the classroom: actually let them learn something before even starting
5. Motivate the participants to think about the subject matter in their company
6. Introduce a collaboration space for the coming half year.

Now you might be thinking, that’s a lot of work and you haven’t even started! But actually... it wasn’t at all. 

I created an online workspace with the house style of the company so that it felt serious for the participants. I asked the CEO to produce a 1 minute video talking about the benefits of what was about to happen. I added 1 minute of myself expressing my eagerness to get started and explaining how it worked and asking everyone to fill in a short intake form. I prepared some material, found a few video’s and a compiled a list of links to some background material.
I then asked the CEO to tell the group that there were some ‘important’ video’s online that they would need to watch before my first training session.

The intake form was geared at getting to know the people before I met them. 14 out of 16 people filled in the form and added their picture. By the time I met them I was able to say things like “It must be exciting to have been with the company for 27 years?” and I knew exactly who had some experience with Scrum. In one word: I was prepared and they appreciated that a lot.

As the participants had very little time before the session, I couldn’t give them too much homework but I did ask them to watch the “Scrum in 5 minutes” video I had selected. This is what is referred to as ‘flipping the classroom’. Why spend time watching a video as a group when there are more important things to do that have to do with personal interaction?

During the first hour of the live session, I asked them to open their laptops and start discussing the pros and cons of Scrum while I was actually talking. It amused them that they were allowed to use their computers during the training. I’m sure that some had a quick look at their email, but the level of engagement was still really high and they now knew that it wasn’t going to be a passive session.

Altogether, I had started blending the training before the first live session and continued on from there. It was very cheap to do, highly appreciated and it led to a strong relationship with the client. Furthermore it was a great practical introduction to the online tools that we are now using daily to collaborate with each other. 

Author Profile Picture
Michiel Klønhammer


Read more from Michiel Klønhammer

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