3 Simple Steps for Making the Classroom to Blended Leap

The latest research shows that the top performing training teams are four times more likely to both blend technologies into their learning solutions and to involve classroom trainers in engaging learners with that technology. Training teams that are speeding up the application of formal learning at work are twice as likely to blend learning technologies into their programmes.

However, many of the conversations I have at leading UK L&D shows are with training professionals concerned that technology is going to make them obsolete. I can’t see anything being further from the truth. Face-to-face sessions with trainers, coaches and mentors are extremely valuable. As learning organisations you should try, where possible, to continue to provide the opportunities for your customers/employees to learn through this medium.

Trends?

More encouragingly, in the last twelve months I’ve also spoken to many traditional training organisations looking to take the leap from a totally face-to-face approach to a blended approach. In this blog I’ll talk about some effective solutions to get you started on this blended journey.

Using a blended approach:

  • Enables you to be very specific about how much you teach in a classroom.
  • Allows you to make informed choices about what you teach in the classroom.
  • Allows you to gather rich data on progress and attainment and thereby differentiate your classroom teaching for your learners.
  • Allows you to intervene or follow up in a targeted and learner-specific way that isn’t possible without technology.
  • And enables you to ensure your learners are: well prepared for, meeting required standards during and receiving appropriate and tailored follow up learning after classroom sessions.List item

So how do you get there?

3 Simple Steps for Making the Classroom to Blended Leap

One: Replacing Death by PowerPoint

No one can dispute that Powerpoint is the most popular presentation tool out there and therefore many trainers still use it to present their classroom teaching. But even with the emergence of Office 365’s Powerpoint on-line, our digitally connected daily lives still aren’t supported and it therefore fails to bridge our classroom and digital learning.

If you're an organisation that’s looking to move to a mixed economy of face to face training and digital learning you need a tool that enables trainers to:

  • Introduce information in an appropriate order and structure
  • Create a mixed economy of media types including text, image, video, audio etc
  • Engage learners
  • Receive performance related data around learning objectives

CDSM’s Learning Engagement Platform - thinqi has exactly that: a high quality, intuitive presentation tool that enables compelling, adaptive, interactive learning content, formative and summative assessment with real-time learner and group level reporting. Playlists are transforming the delivery of classroom based learning because they are seamlessly supporting a blended approach that wholly reflects our day to day digitally connected lives. You can see a good example of a Playlist here.

Two: Start small and scale up

As in any new venture, it’s not a bad idea to start small and scale up. Despite many organisations complaining about the lack of success of their L&D programmes (Only one-third of L&D teams are currently achieving the goals they seek), those same organisations are reluctant to change things. So start small, use your feedback and data to promote and revise your programme. Identify and align outcomes to business challenges and pilot study your approach on areas in need of improvement using sample groups. If possible, and I know it isn’t always, try to test different approaches to gain an understanding which one works the best.

A blended approach will give you many quick wins so use the feedback and results to gather support from wider stakeholders. Send the positive feedback into the business (or use as marketing collateral for your training business) from the pilot and then create case studies of your wins and share this information with those stakeholders.

Then, when you’ve got a great foundation of evidence and practice, scale up and start changing other L&D / course programmes using you tried and tested approach.

Three: Repurpose and Reuse

Just because you’re changing your approach you don’t need to throw the baby out with the bath water. Repurpose, disaggregate, reaggregate and reuse your classroom content. Turn those Powerpoint presentations into learning material by dissecting the primary underpinning knowledge of your work and present it as e-learning (Playlists again comes in handy here). You can encourage learners to complete it before classroom sessions so knowledge can be baselined and skills can be refined in the classroom. Try breaking these learning objects up into bite size learning modules for each topic (around 5-10min) and add in assessment questions to form topic-based micro assessment. This way you can check competency and retention on a regular basis and therefore identify learning needs early and often.

Most importantly, analyse your existing content and make informed decisions about what works best digitally and what works best face to face. Don’t just convert old Powerpoints into digital content. Doing this would do away with the huge benefits of your classroom programmes and nullify the gains from a blended approach.

CDSM is a leading national learning technologies company specialising in blended learning and development. See more CDSM blogs here or subscribe to our blogs below.