How Blended Learning can help businesses tackle issues of productivity and culture more effectively
When seeking the best approach to workplace training and development, there are many factors to consider. Above all, workplaces need to be assured that instruction will be effective and efficient, and that the training method chosen will produce results.
As such, it’s surprising that fewer than 20% of organisations are using eLearning or blended learning as major learning strategies, says Stephen Bell, managing director of World Learning Hub.
This finding was the result of a WLH survey, which revealed that many professionals have “mixed views” about eLearning, Bell said.
“Some content has been poorly conceived, learning methodologies are hum-drum and the performance of eLearning technologies often inconsistent,” he said.
“[However] I am a great advocate of individuals receiving a blended approach to workplace learning whenever possible. That means combining the different forms of learning to achieve your individual learning outcomes.”
Blended learning allows organisations to deliver learning programs in a flexible format across a range of important areas, such as when tackling bullying, discrimination or harassment in the workplace.
The negative impact of any such behaviour can be significant, particularly if it is allowed to continue unchallenged. In Australia, these types of complaints are rigorously prosecuted in the courts, while bullying, harassment and discrimination can also impact on workplace productivity.
For example, a Health and Community Services Union investigation of a hospital in Victoria revealed that for over 10 years it had been subject to a ‘toxic culture’ of bullying and harassment. The consequences of such behaviour were evident in the interviews given by staff: a negative impact on work and social life, negative ramifications for the quality of patient care, and a 100% turnover of staff in one sector of the hospital.
For these reasons, it is important that employers identify a method of workplace training and development best suited to the structure, technology and culture of their business. In a workplace setting, the options available for training are wide ranging.
In some instances a live or face-to-face approach may be preferable, particularly where participants need to ask questions, or require an increased level of interaction. For example, Contact Officer training gives learners the opportunity to practise skills with a facilitator and ask questions about specific scenarios that the facilitator can answer with some useful knowledge and experience.
In other circumstances an online approach may be preferred, such as where the training is a “refresher” course with content the participants are already familiar with, or where additional reinforcement or assessment is needed.
In some cases, eLearning is also chosen for its accessibility. If part of the workforce is based off-site, in a remote location, or performed in shifts, a more flexible online program could serve all parties. In circumstances where it is difficult to get groups of participants together to train, eLearning also provides a flexible alternative.
As Ball observed, a blended learning approach addresses some of these issues. The term “blended learning” is broad and its use varies relative to setting, but generally speaking, this approach instructs students through a combination of online and face-to-face learning.
“Face to face training programs and conferences may be harder to get to – not because organisations are less interested in developing their knowledge pool, but because people just won’t have the spare time. Reliance on eLearning and Webinars is sure to increase for critical training areas,” he shared.
When applied to a workplace setting, blended learning offers organisations flexibility in how to engage learners, he added.
The ability to customise training, adapting content to the work environment, inserting organisational policies, values and code of conduct as well as developing new modules to integrate with existing training provision, makes the blended learning approach appealing.
iHR Australia is a leading proponent of blended learning approaches to workplace training and development, combining face-to-face training and eLearning. Our real world training features Workplace Reality Theatre, using actors to re-enact real-life, engaging workplace scenarios with analysis and discussion led by an experienced facilitator. Participants in our full day and practice sessions are also provided with an opportunity to practise their skills by interacting with the actors, helping to build confidence and embed learning.
Online training is meanwhile delivered in collaboration with our production partner, World Learning Hub. Online courses incorporate Cognitive Load Theory and use 3D animation to create engaging, interactive eLearning.
Or more information on tailored blended learning solutions for your workplace, or to discuss the needs of your organisation, please phone 1300 884 687 or make an online enquiry.