Blended learning is a training method that combines online course delivery with traditional in-person instruction. While each method (online and in-person learning) has flaws, when combined, they compensate for each other’s weaknesses, resulting in your learners getting the best of both worlds. But, there are definitely mistakes to avoid.
A blended approach to learning ensures that the learner is engaged and can take advantage of both methods of learning. It helps improve their learning experience.
More and more businesses favor this learning method over traditional methods because it saves money while empowering employees to improve their job performance, which is the primary goal of any training session. As each individual has a unique learning experience, such an approach to learning is beneficial in meeting the needs of the learners. It is a more effective way to learn for employees of an organization as they can make the best use of what they have learned in the practical field.
Although it is an excellent method, there are some pitfalls to be aware of when employing it. This is especially true when moving from a strictly traditional class context to a hybrid learning setting. So, to assist you with this transition, we have listed eight common mistakes to avoid when delivering blended learning courses.
1. Failure to Edit Previously Published Content
Most organizations that make the transition to blended learning use existing content. That’s fine. In fact, this is the most cost-effective way to make the transition. You may reuse materials, but you must ensure that everything is updated.
Although you are not required to alter your content radically, you must determine whether the existing content works well in an online environment. It is not enough to simply take sections of the course and repurpose them online. Some things need completed in the classroom and others need completed online. So make this distinction before transitioning to blended learning. This will help you maintain a smooth flow as you transition from offline to online models of the course.
2. Not Researching Your Learners’ Needs and Preferences
Your learners’ demands and preferences should precede the organization’s overall goals and objectives. Send out questionnaires, hold one-on-one conversations, and keep an eye on them while they’re working to determine what they need to gain from the corporate training experience. What technological tools do they favor, and how tech-savvy are they? Do they oppose a blended learning program, or are they eager to get started? You also need to ascertain whether any unique requirements exist that need following. Do any employees, for instance, have learning impairments who would benefit from subtitles?
3. Limiting Both Offline and Online Learning
There is no set rule regarding how much of the course or module should be completed online versus offline. It is not necessary to make it equal. If you believe a major chunk of learning will be more effective if given online, then adapt your content to your online platform and conduct most of the lessons online. If you think that the majority of the learning should be done in person, reduce the online sections in the course.
4. Inability to Assess the Progress of Your Learner
Another mistake to avoid is not assessing the progress of your learner. Tracking learners’ progress is an essential and challenging aspect of delivering blended learning. It is critical to have a thorough understanding of what learners have accomplished after completing a specific course. So not taking proper assessments is a mistake after transitioning to blended learning.
Through assessments, you may determine whether an individual retained the knowledge and whether additional assistance is necessary. Although an individual’s job performance level is a reliable predictor of impact, multiple-choice tests and other interactive evaluation methods—such as branching models, simulations, etc.—remove any element of risk.
Also, you must track both the classroom and the self-paced components of your blended learning. Monitoring their progress helps you see if your training program needs tweaking.
5. Not Making a Responsive Implementation Plan
The blended learning initiatives keep changing to meet the organization’s and the learners’ shifting needs. Effective blended learning initiatives are always flexible and have a responsive implementation plan. So, after launching your blended learning program, it is essential that you solicit input from your audience or learners to understand what is effective and what isn’t.
You might want to begin with a focus group of people who can try out the resources and sort out any kinks before the launch. Also, establish an efficient feedback mechanism by providing questionnaires or recommendation forms to encourage learners to share their concerns and ideas to perfect the plan and discover any areas that may need improvement.
6. Failure to Orient Learners about Digital Learning Methods
If your learners are only familiar with in-person classroom training and are highly comfortable, they may initially be resistant to online training. Anything new requires orientation, if not training. Similarly, when they begin their blended learning journey —whether through eLearning, virtual classrooms, or mobile learning—your learners will require an introduction to online training.
The goal is to familiarize them with every “how to use” aspect and alleviate any fears first-time digital learners may have.
7. Leaving Out Post-Training Support
It is critical to provide post-training reference tools, refresher courses (distributed over time), and performance support to guarantee sticky learning that extends into effective job performance at the moment of need. Overall, failing to provide post-training support can be costly in terms of failure to achieve the desired outcomes.
Microlearning is the most effective solution for adequate post-training support. This includes microlearning elements such as videos, infographics, blogs, game-based nuggets, podcasts, and so on. As a post-training reference, you can also record virtual training sessions and break them down into microlearning modules.
Blended learning has enormous benefits that an organization can take advantage of, including increased training ROI. If you can avoid the mistakes mentioned above, you will be able to provide an excellent learning experience to your employees and give them the resources they need to handle obstacles at work and enhance their skills.