Every day, I get to talk to senior figures in L&D about the challenges they’re facing which is a great way to keep up to date with the latest issues affecting learning in the workplace. It’s like my own personal learning benchmark survey, and a real source of inspiration for my work.
Recently, I was talking to one head of L&D who, when moving towards blended learning, was concerned they might not continue to enjoy the results that they and their stakeholders were used to.
“It’s easy when you run a course,” was the reasoning. “You can make sure people turn up. With digital learning, it’s not so simple.”
Any change brings with it the potential to disrupt the status quo—however, if we keep pushing learning out to people, we run the risk that they may become weary and unreceptive.
Engagement is an issue that I think most of us have struggled with. The problem doesn’t seem to be going away by itself, even as more people enter the workforce looking for personal and professional development.
So, it’s like our people want to learn—but there’s something holding them back from taking advantage of this.
Lack of engagement can present itself in several ways, but a common symptom is when your people simply don’t engage with new solutions— for example, delegates not logging on to a new system when it’s introduced. One thing I’ve been hearing a lot recently is that learners still have a mindset that says they must enter a physical classroom to learn, and this can really get in the way of trying out new delivery methods!
The best way to challenge this lack of motivation is to meet learners at their moment of need, and to make it as easy as possible for them to engage. That’s where blended learning comes in.
Blended learning, when researched and implemented correctly, puts learners in charge of their development, and can be the catalyst for the move towards the ‘pull’ learning mindset that we all desire.
I think, by gearing our approaches towards the learners, we can make life easier for both of us. By using blended solutions to make the right learning available to learners where and when they need it, L&D can gain their trust and get the investment we need for future solutions.
Here are some ways blended learning can really help drive learner engagement within your organisation.
Make it accessible
For ‘pull’ learning to work, resources should be easily accessible, responsive and work across a range of platforms—mobile, tablet and different operating systems and browsers. This means that when your learners have a question or problem, there’ll be no barrier to using your solutions for a quick and easy answer. It’s also there for learners even when outside of the classroom or signed out of the LMS.
An example of this is if you’re creating materials to support a roll-out of new software, videos and GIFs can be a great visual aid to using certain features or troubleshooting problems, instead of contacting IT. However, if you’re using learning technology which tracks and collects learner data, make sure it works online and offline so you’re not missing out on measurements!
Help when it’s needed
Performance support helps learners apply what they’ve learned after they’ve returned to the workplace, and is essential to long-term recall.
Creating a learning library, delivering follow-up tools, or similar reference materials to help learners in their roles can also help underpin L&D’s position as essential workplace support.
For example, short videos demonstrating sales closing techniques could be useful for salespeople in the field. Making the videos mobile means that the user can pull them up in the few minutes before a meeting to refresh their knowledge—a useful point-of-need opportunity which certainly wouldn’t be met by a desktop LMS.
Break it down
Where possible, breaking the learning down into smaller nuggets that learners can consume quickly and easily is fantastic for several reasons: it helps the learner to take on board learning without overloading them, boosting engagement and retention, but also reinforces the flexibility and availability of just-in-time learning.
‘Chunking’ is an especially effective approach for support materials, meaning learners can revisit the content when they need to brush up or refresh their skills.
Although outstanding learner engagement won’t arrive overnight, I hope this gives you food for thought, and perhaps a new way of approaching your challenge.
Blending your solutions can make a big difference in everything from engagement to recall, and the long-term effect can be much more far-reaching than just successful delivery.
Perhaps one of these ideas will be the first step to putting your workplace on track for more self-directed learning, and better engagement, using blended learning.
Our team of experienced learning professionals can help you achieve the culture and engagement you want to see in your organisaiton. Contact us now to discuss this further, or book a consultation with one of our experts.
Stephanie Morgan FLPI, Director of Learning Solutions, Bray Leino Learning
Sharing ideas and observations to help improve performance.
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