Are you moving from an instructor-led environment to a blended learning approach? Consider these tips for beginning the process.
Start with WHY
What do you want to gain by moving instructor-led courses to a blended learning environment?
Some of the reasons for transitioning content from instructor-led training to a blended approach may include: cost savings, efficiency gain, access to on-the-job (OJT) tools and information, and training reinforcement.
What could bring the biggest return on investment (ROI) to your existing training programs?
One way to determine this is to examine your current instructor-led training (ILT) course offerings and their budget and resource impact.
A good place to begin is to compare your ILT courses and identify those that:
- Require more time from the training staff
- Use significantly more training facility space
- Incur more expenses (e.g., travel, accommodations, meals)
- Involve more attendees relative to other classes
- Impact a larger percentage of the employees at your organization
This helps you determine where to focus and have the most impact.
When transitioning content to include a blended-learning approach, this information helps you discover where you can have meaningful results and positively impact the experience and outcomes of learning for more employees.
Example: You are a learning and development manager for a financial institution. You review your course catalogs and department budget, and you discover:
- You have one training team staff member dedicating 85 percent of their time supporting new-bank-teller training
- The teller training classes require the use of a room in the central training facility space five days per class, tying up the space for three weeks of every month
- The expenses associated with reimbursing or accommodating the tellers during training is 60 percent of your total budget
- Tellers have a higher turnover rate than other positions (even though the turnover rate is comparable to that of other institutions)
- Tellers are one of the largest consumers of your department’s course offerings
Based on this information, creating a blended learning approach to new-teller training may yield cost savings, increased efficiencies, and additional facility space, as well as freeing up training staff time and better using team resources.
Involve your team
Offer support and encouragement to team members who will be responsible for assisting in moving training content online. If they are the primary content owner or instructor, try to reassure them that their involvement and ownership is critical to a successful transition, and that you value their experience and support.
In many cases, the person (in this example, the trainer) in charge of the content and delivery of an instructor-led course is also the subject matter expert. If they are reassured, and involved in the process, they can be an ally in the transition. But overlooking their concerns, or not involving them in the decision-making, could compromise their trust and potentially damage the project.
They may worry that moving some of the course material to different formats could make their role less valuable. Helping them understand how their role may be different (and even more impactful) can mitigate these concerns before the project to transform the content is underway.
Decide WHAT to change
Start by reviewing your existing content, getting feedback from subject matter experts, and digging deeper in class evaluations.
You don’t have to re-create all of the content or change it at one time. Instead, start small, determining what existing content might be transferable in a different way. Rather than replacing rich, context-driven learner experiences with dry, less engaging online content, consider taking some of the material to create:
- Resource guides and handouts that can be accessed online as OTJ training and reference materials
- Discussion boards and moderated chats or video conferences to supplement the classroom experience
- Self-study and written material and knowledge checks as pre-course work
- Interactive simulations and feedback