The blended learning philosophy addresses the fact that people learn in different ways – some appreciate being closely supported by an instructor in the classroom, while others prefer to work more independently and at their own pace. The availability of online media makes it possible to increase the available options in order to support this range of preferences. In addition to traditional classrooms, training can work over long distances using virtual classrooms; recordings of short sessions can aid self-paced learning and resources like frequently-asked questions or blogs can be made available over the Internet.
There are strong advantages in the blended approach for both individual learners and their organisations. Learners don’t have to concentrate solely on a single one of the options listed above – instead, they can sign up for a ‘blend’ of modules that might combine a single trip to a traditional classroom with subsequent online sessions, whether ‘live’ or ‘self-paced’. In addition, the use of online approaches to training has obvious financial benefits in that the costs of travel, accommodation and venues are almost entirely eliminated.
The blended learning approach typically offers learning in short (perhaps no more than 2 hour) self-contained modules. This approach has various advantages – it fits in well with the virtual classroom and e-learning media, impacts less on normal duties than whole days of training and doesn’t risk ‘information overload’ for trainees.
Selecting a Delivery Mechanism
To select an appropriate Training delivery mechanism for any programme, various factors need to be considered such as the training objectives and needs,
the number and variety of learners involved, timescales, budgets, and delivery logistics. In many cases, sending staff on to public schedule courses can be seen as the most cost-effective solution. However, there are many other training delivery mechanisms that can also be highly effective in your organisation, and may bring better return on your training investment.
The ultimate aim of most training programmes is to achieve business benefits from a change in behaviour in the workplace resulting from the skills and knowledge gained. This means the learners have to put course theory into working practice. The sooner each learner starts to apply course theory to their own environment, firstly through conscious thought processes in a design or planning mode, and then through actual practice, the more thoroughly the learning is retained, and the earlier the business benefit is achieved. Ideally this starts during the training programme itself, and is possible with customised and tailored training solutions.
Some example delivery mechanisms are as follows:
- Standard course (public or privately delivered) on a generic training environment
- Fully customised course delivered on a realistic local environment
- Integrated course mixing generic course theory with specific customised course practice
- Tailored course to cover different content from the standard course topics
- Skills Transfer workshops and desk-side support
- Computer based training solutions
Acuma can help you define the most appropriate and cost-effective solution to meet your specific training needs. Here is a summary of the main pros and cons of each of the main delivery mechanisms.