When you ask people what the last skill they gained was and how they learnt it, you will be surprised to discover that very few will mention formal training interventions such as classroom training, university degrees and so forth. Instead, more common answers to this question will include day to day skills that were gained through coaching, mentoring, trial and error and more commonly, by internet resources such as Google; or by watching a YouTube video on the topic. I am willing to bet that as you are reading this, you have realised that the same is true for yourself. Just think of that DIY project in your garage or that recipe you saw on Facebook.
In the environment of learning and development, we therefore have to acknowledge a fundamental difference between how we were taught and how current and future generations will learn.
Traditionally, learners where assigned a lecturer who provided them with information on a topic which was restricted to the knowledge and opinions of that lecturer. It was mostly one directional communication. Learners were then expected to memorise the lecturer’s version of the truth only to regurgitate the information at a later stage without the slightest idea of the practical applications thereof.
Today we are lucky enough to be able to access information on almost any topic at any time simply by punching a couple of key words into our smart phones, which immediately gives us tremendous amounts of information from multiple sources.
So why would we try to memorise one version of the truth, when that version and volumes of information can be easily accessed whenever we might need it so long as we have access to internet?
This phenomenon has significantly impacted the way we learn and has subsequently led to most of the top training providers adopting an approach of Blended Learning in order to adapt to these changes in the needs of individuals.
Blended learning is an approach to learning that combines internet resources and methods for online interaction with traditional, face to face facilitation methods. Blended learning therefore enables learners to take control of their own learning experiences by finding information in their own time, using their own sources, where the facilitator’s role is to provide an environment for engaging with other learners in meaningful discussions and activities, while providing clear parameters wherein learning is focused on specific outcomes which will ultimately lead to formal qualifications. Facilitators therefore focus their efforts on removing barriers and enabling learners to find the required information by themselves, rather than spoon-feeding learners with information from prescribed text books. The facilitators therefore provide guidance and inspire learners to achieve academic goals.
This results in employees who are inherently equipped for lifelong learning and ensures a learning culture in your organisation where development occurs organically and employees are increasingly resilient to inevitable changes.
Why should your business incorporate blended learning into your business practices?
Incorporating technology into your learning practices through blended learning ensures that learners readily have access to the latest information and further enhances interaction between learners and facilitators without restricting interaction to a single classroom or venue. The use of technology in learning gives learners ownership of their learning experiences, therefore encouraging creativity and the conceptualisation of their own ideas which can instantly be incorporated in their day to day activities. The use of technology in learning further allows for much more realistic simulations of workplace scenarios which learners will face in the course of their careers.
It goes without saying that incorporating blended learning practices drastically reduces the negative impact training has on your organisation with regards to time and costs. Can you imagine a world where employees from multiple sites around the world can be trained by a single intervention through flexible and highly interactive training interventions, without ever needing to travel a single kilometer? Now imagine the same group of learners logging in for 2 hour power sessions over the course of a few months, allowing them to master specific topics between sessions through online assessment without any disruptions to your organisation.
These are the training interventions which are mandated by legislation, regulations and policies, which may vary from industry to industry. The costs, complexities and deadlines associated with compliance training is enough to cause more than a few headaches in any organisation. Not to mention the circus and confusion that go along with the annual training reports and workplace skills plans which need to be managed while ensuring that actual work happens somewhere along the line. Considering the time, effort and resources it takes to ensure that all the right boxes are ticked when it comes to compliance training, it comes as no surprise that most organisations tend to only care that it is done, as opposed to asking how the training delivered can positively impact the organisation, should it be done correctly and effectively. Employers further experience that there are no slots left for operational training which can truly benefit the business, once compliance training has been paid for making compliance training an enduring grudge purchase. This is where partnering with our experts and the introduction of blended learning approaches in your organisation can make your resources stretch so much further, allowing for more interventions and greater returns with less of the hassles associated with traditional approaches to learning and development.
The number of millennials in the composition of our workforces are increasing every year and although we enjoy complaining about the mannerisms and poor habits these youngsters bring into the workplace, it would be silly to ignore the potential diversity and creativity businesses can harness from highly effective millennials. With this in mind and knowing that millennials love to Google everything they need to know while being exposed to technology before learning to crawl, it is not much of a stretch to imagine how businesses can benefit from the incorporation of blended learning in their training interventions. Millennial learners tend to prefer to conduct research in their own time without being rushed. They need space in which to express themselves creatively in how they learn while being highly reliant on personal relationships and acknowledgement from others. Despite this being a very broad generalisation of the millennial generation, most employers agree that traditional approaches are increasingly in-effective to keep the attention of younger learners.
LabourNet Learning & Development is continuously looking for new and innovative ways to stay at the forefront of OHS compliance, Microsoft, Industrial Relations and Human Resource training delivery. We incorporate blended learning solutions in all of our accredited training interventions, which includes webinar broadcasts, interactive online facilitation sessions and online assessment for competence. Feel free to contact us for more information on our blended public schedule and flexible In-House training solutions.
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