Today’s workforce demands more than old school learning approaches, such as classroom-based seminars and company seminars. It is necessary to blend both virtual and classroom-based learning to make it easier for employees to maintain their relevance in the workplace. Hybrid learning is a right-sized tool to meet these demands and responsibilities. But to make sure the hybrid learning solution is efficient, there are three critical factors to take into consideration.
The first is online technology tools for both presenting and learning. At the enterprise level, most virtual training solutions, such as virtual training, virtual lab, virtual simulation, etc. are being deployed on online platforms. They provide reliable devices and websites where users can connect, via mobile, PC or laptop.
"Hybrid learning is the integration of face-to-face and/or virtual elements into the context of regular traditional learning methods. When there is a mismatch between what is being learned and the skills required, more training or skills development is likely to be needed to sustain the employee's new level of skill”.
"As such, the goal of a hybrid learning model is to close the skills gap as quickly as possible. The content that is being learned is not only viewed online or via a webinar, but is available on demand at any time via an on-demand platform”.
It includes a mix of self-directed lessons and group lessons that build skillsets and provide the necessary reinforcement to ensure the learner keeps improving.
Stores use hybrid learning for co-op training, internship preparation, in-house training, and product knowledge. It allows retailers to provide live training to employees in their stores and integrate all stages of learning, from acquisition to deployment, into a single platform.
Automotive companies use hybrid learning to create flexible online training programs that incorporate physical and virtual elements.
Can’t Teach Traditional Training in a Virtual Classroom
Traditional training does not require participants to be in the same physical location as the learning material. This is especially the case with traditional onboarding or annual training. While that sounds like a virtual learning experience, it’s actually a very physical one.
However, given the millennial nature of the future workforce and how their tech-driven generation learns, it’s vital we modernize the learning experience to address this problem. The classroom-based approach is the most cost-effective for Corporate training.
The Business Case for Hybrid Learning for Learning Engagement
Organizations that successfully deploy hybrid learning should take note of the following key benefits.
Align Training with New Learning Models.
The ability to personalize a user’s training experience is the Holy Grail of hybrid learning.
The variety of learning content delivered through the virtual learning experience should align to the specific learning model.
For example, employees who are on site will benefit from instructor-led training. Workers at remote offices will benefit from “learnerspace” (colloquial term for self-paced learning) experiences.
Integrate Hybrid Learning with External Approaches to Development.
Traditional online training may be beneficial when the learning environment is conducive and optimized. It’s often more beneficial when the learning environment is informal, just like we find ourselves in an office environment, where our attention is directed at real work. The challenge lies in how to bridge the differences.
Training has a specific learning and development purpose. While in hybrid mode, many organizations have shifted to a blended approach, creating the need for two types of learning experiences.
Learning that supports a specific outcome: This type of learning doesn’t change the outcome per se, but is there to support the business process or result (or to reach an agreed-upon set of business outcomes). For example, a product manager may need training on how to use a new product. This type of learning is supporting the business process.
When you think about training, you might think, oh, I have to attend training; or, I don’t want to interrupt my schedule to attend training; or, it’s not convenient to go to a classroom; or, I don’t want to wait for my assigned instructor.
These are all good reasons to not attend a training. But most training experiences are neither fun nor engaging for learning purposes. In the virtual reality of blended learning, the instructor is in the same room with the learner and, with the right equipment, it is easier to stimulate the person’s sensory systems. This learning experience becomes more interactive and engaging than traditional training.
Blended learning is the combination of online and classroom training. It involves the use of blended media resources for training purposes. The usual blending model includes a mix of sessions. The blended model improves the quality of training due to increased learner engagement and retention.
It is helpful to the organization as well as for learners. Blended learning aids in bringing in non-traditional learners to the training. As the learners are brought in at the time and place of their convenience, it helps them to learn on their own pace and time of convenience. It also facilitates self-directed learning and helps non-traditional learners gain skill sets that they may not be aware of.
There are many advantages of blended learning as compared to online learning. Let's explore some of these advantages that enable blended learning to provide an exciting learning experience for both educators and learners:
Supports the learner's learning experience – Rather than simply learning how to do a task through a traditional lecture, students can learn through an interactive and engaging environment
Retain the instructor and the group – At the same time, teachers and learners can continue to communicate as the blended learning session progresses.
Lack of Active Learning – The time available for active learning is reduced in a blended learning model, since the interactive sessions have less time for development, questioning, and discussions
Lack of interaction and reliance on the instructor – When instruction is facilitated primarily by an instructor, the learners have little interaction and they tend to rely on the instructor for answers
Verification of learner work – In a blended learning model, learners do not prove their work on assessments; and in a hybrid learning model, they do on the validation tasks
While the discussion around blended learning and hybrid learning is not new, it is still in a preliminary stage as the stakeholders do not know what the benefits and drawbacks are and how to address them.
The hybrid learning model is an outcome of the industry’s continuous search for the best learning method. These models offer many learning options to learners, all from a single location and provide multiple training sessions with multiple faculty members at once.
Consistent With In-Person Learning
Students would rather attend training sessions taught by a live instructor than via online lectures. The hybrid learning model offers an optimal solution to teach your employees efficiently.
Companies of all sizes can use the hybrid learning model for an effective implementation of virtual learning. This approach can ensure that your employees are familiar with the content provided in the offline class before they attend online lessons.
We have to determine which part of the training can be best served through in-person sessions. For example, feedback can happen face-to-face or through audio/video conferencing. We have to adapt techniques to ensure that all employees and leaders share the same point-of-view and skills.
But there is also something to be said about informal feedback — your own direct experience with a trainer, sharing a challenge in a live and constructive way with peers and key stakeholders, and allowing them to engage with you. This type of feedback gives individuals the opportunity to make the most of a training session as they help the trainer address their questions and concerns.
If you are a leader of a remote team, then learning and development is certainly going to be an important focus area for you. Leaders at a company that is not fully mobile might need to travel to headquarters or the branch to have face-to-face training sessions.
Not only this, but there may be requirements from the managers in the remote team to attend training sessions when required. This may be hard to arrange if there is no one to take on such a role in the remote team. There may also be intermittent training sessions on top of meetings, which leads to a high learning and development cost in the first place.
Today, customized training solutions and implementation of the hybrid model is all the more important for the evolution, well-being, and sustenance of the workforce. What are the challenges in adopting the hybrid model?
The hybrid model is pretty easy for teachers to adopt. It has a huge gap that needs to be filled and that is the tools that allow students to share their lessons online and for teachers to share their own feedback.
Pairing their knowledge and work styles, we have to equip managers with the right support at the right time to bring both the learning and work culture to the desired level of productivity and engagement.
The New World of Work
Organizations are shaping their workplace cultures to suit the demands of the digital natives who are highly innovative and aspirational and whose work methods and practices have changed a lot in the last 10 years. The Hybrid learning model is essential to meet the changing needs and demands of the hybrid workforce.
Require employees to have access to technology at home. It is important to invest in a smart phone for mobile access, desktops for managing content, laptops for managing data and editing documents, etc. This will not only protect employees’ productivity but also their ability to connect with team members on a personal level.
Encourage employees to use technology to share content to help them engage with their co-workers, peers, and even industry experts.
Ensure laptops or smart phones are used to sync notes and links to relevant content.
Allow for the use of video conferencing software (if it helps to improve collaboration)
These are just some of the ways in which you can ensure your workforce is connected, safe, and can build a strong relationship with one another.
Owing to extensive feedback from enterprise clients and a wide range of hands-on experience, we wanted to ensure that we create training material that is practical and concise and relevant for each company we work with.
The answer is in rethinking the way corporate training is delivered, and using technologies like virtual reality and augmented reality, to engage our learners. Empowering our employees with the right skills is important to the success of the business. The key is not to just measure a company’s gains, but to see if we are also helping them discover their hidden skills, which they did not know were there.
The future of education is not at all the bright spot.
The point of learning in today's environment is to stay abreast of our changing needs and stay relevant in the business world.
The rapid changes we're seeing due to technology and new markets, as well as globalization and disruptive innovation, are not easy for employees to adjust to.
Technology adoption can also impact mental well-being in the workplace and lead to high-stress levels among employees. According to researchers, the healthy employees are happier, more committed to their jobs, and less prone to burnout.
We have to provide learners with access to the right learning tools to enable them to participate in real learning. How? By using virtual reality and augmented reality in the classroom.