A blended learning approach is a great way to create flexible, effective learning – and your LMS should be a key consideration in the design of your program. In this blog, we’re going to look at the benefits you should leverage to get the best results from your investment.
The concept of blending learning has evolved. For many, blended learning was traditionally a mix of face-to-face and online training. But now it’s much, much more.
These days, we recognise blended learning as a design tool to create rich learning experiences by harnessing:
- a broad media mix – such as videos, animations, audio and face-to-face training
- the latest technology – so that content that can be viewed anytime, anywhere
- non-linear and continuous learning – instead of static one-off learning events
- social learning – so users can learn from each other and collaborate
Your LMS can be the hub from which all these elements seamlessly blend together to create an effective learning solution.
Use your LMS to host a powerful mix of media
According to a recent Towards Maturity report, solutions that prioritise an engaging learner experience achieve better results.
The value of a blended learning approach is its ability to diversify the way learners consume information. A blended approach to your program can take your thinking beyond a single module or course to create rich learning experiences.
Structure your design with a consideration of the variety of media your learners can access. From traditional eLearning modules, through to videos, online articles and podcasts, a wide variety of content types can be hosted on your LMS and structured into an engaging learning journey.
Collaboration – or social learning – should also be another element to include in a blended learning design. This is particularly true if learners are based across different locations or working remotely, when online learning can sometimes feel lonely.
This disconnection can ultimately affect completion targets. An intelligent blended learning program can solve this problem by creating forums where learners can discuss the content they’re viewing or consult with subject matter experts.
Take your learning ‘to go’ with a mobile LMS
A key benefit of a blended learning approach is that it opens up access channels. In the same report, Towards Maturity note that one in three learners report having problems accessing learning due to poor IT infrastructure.
While infrastructure problems are often something that you may not have the power to solve immediately, you can ensure your learning is as easy to access as possible.
One simple way to do that is to make sure your LMS has the capability to be accessed across a wide range of devices. This way, your learners can access courses on their own, or company supplied, devices.
When learners can access the LMS in this way, they have the flexibility to learn in their own time and at their own pace. They can watch videos while traveling or post comments in the forum while waiting in the coffee line – there’s always ‘a good time’ to learn and stay connected.
NetDimensions’ mobile app, Talent Slate, allows learners to learn online and offline. They can either load up on content in advance, for use when they’re on the go, or have the safe knowledge that they can access courses when they have an Internet connection.
Make the learning journey matter
While the tempation with a blended learning approach might be to take a scattershot approach, a successful blended solution needs intelligent design.
Instead of trying to present your learners with a lots of different content in an attempt to cover all learning preferences, think strategically about the journey you want to take them on. Once that’s clear, you can then think about breaking down any barriers to access.
For example, face-to-face training sessions may be a necessary but expensive part of your solution. So consider the best value you can gain from these sessions – what is the critical point at which your learners are going to benefit from some face-to-face learning?
It may be that you plan a journey of introductory modules, videos or animations, and then give your learners a chance to apply their knowledge with a scenario-based assessment.
Once they’re feeling confident with the basics, you could schedule in a face-to-face training session to tackle some of the complexities of your subject and cover any weaknesses revealed in the assessment data.
While considering the strategic value of key touch points in your learning journey, there’s often little chance of escaping the logistical challenges of arranging face-to-face sessions.
Luckily, many Learning Management Systems, such as NetDimensions’ LMS, now have inbuilt functionality for planning and resourcing face-to-face sessions easily. They are also compatible with virtual classroom software, so group learning is possible wherever learners happen to be.
Your LMS should be the starting point of your blended learning design. Take some time to fully explore its capabilities so you can leverage them for maximum success.
Are you looking to implement an LMS for blended learning programs? Contact us today to find out what NetDimensions Talent Suite can do for your organization.