As we dive into the new year, learning and development professionals can’t help but wonder about the future of our industry. Although instructor-led training (ILT) still is core to many organization’s development programs, some wonder if in-person training will become a thing of the past. With advancements in modern organizational learning technology, we can actually improve in-person training by implementing a blended learning strategy. Blended learning refers to using a combination of an online learning platform and in-person, instructor-led training. Below, we describe how blending the two together can greatly benefit your learners and instructors.
Using an Online Learning Platform Pre-Session
An online learning platform can be utilized before the in-person ILT session begins. To implement a blended learning strategy, learners can be provided with an online pre-assessment to take on their own time, to check their base understanding of topics that will be covered during the training. This can be particularly helpful for instructors who are not familiar with the learners. The instructor can gather insights from these assessments to better plan what topics they will need to cover. Learners can also be required to complete pre-session eLearning courses, view instructional videos, and read necessary resources. With an online learning platform, they can take this on their own time, and at their own pace. When everyone arrives to the ILT with a baseline of knowledge, the session itself can be shorter, and the instructor can spend the bulk of their time teaching the material that would be more difficult to deliver online. In the end, this can save the company money too.
Implementing a blended learning strategy, in which instructors can lean on real-time learner engagement data, can be very beneficial. An online learning platform can be used to assess the comprehension of the topics being covered throughout the session with instant polling. Instant polling displays a question to the learners, who can respond on their respective devices. Instant polling provides real-time, anonymous results for each question, giving learners an idea of where they stand compared to others, and giving instructors insight on what they should spend more time discussing. Instant polling motivates engagement from learners throughout the session. Instant polling can even be used to efficiently take attendance
During the session, learners can upload pictures and videos from the session to the online learning platform for further discussion and feedback. Participant surveys can also be completed providing insight and feedback for the instructor. In addition, live recordings of the session can be uploaded and provided for learners who were not able to make it to the session. An online learning platform can make it easy to assign virtual groups that can enable learners to review and discuss any course material both during, and after the session.
Once the instructor-led training is over, learners can instantly be notified to take an online assessment to evaluate what they have learned. Assignments can also be administered post-session. An assignment could include uploading a webcam video of the learner reiterating the lessons learned in the training session. This can help instructors understand what worked and potential problem areas that they can improve upon in future blended learning sessions. Employee training and development resources can be made available on the online learning platform so that learners can go back to the training material whenever they need to, eliminating paper waste.
Overall, instructor-led training can greatly benefit from a blended learning strategy before, during and after the session. It can minimize the overall time spent in ILT sessions, as well as the costs of the sessions. Learners will be more prepared going into the session, and instructors have an efficient way of following up after the session. With the rapid growth of technology, organizations constantly have opportunities to improve their learning strategy. Utilizing both an online learning platform and in-person instructor-led training sessions is a great place to start!