The Future of Online Learning: Why It Will Become Mainstream with Hybrid Working

Many companies have made the decision to implement a hybrid work environment for their employees over the last year and a half. At first, companies chose this solution as a response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. However, many organizations are now allowing both in-person and remote work for their employees due to its reduced costs, efficiency benefits, and employee approval.

Recent research has suggested that employees are more efficient when working from home, while others point to the need for in-person interaction to encourage mental health and collaboration. Hybrid work, in theory, gets at the best of both worlds.

 

Why online learning will become mainstream

Even though eLearning and hybrid learning are now part of the working lexicon, you might be surprised to learn that both of these types of learning haven’t always been the most common choice. For many years, the majority of organizations focused primarily on in-person or classroom-based learning.

Traditional educational training programs were focused on providing educational content to employees. When we think about online learning, we typically think about “microlearning,” which is only of interest to short-term learners. It is frequently used as a tool for employees to learn new skills quickly and then share the knowledge with colleagues. The problem with microlearning is that a large number of students only benefit from a limited amount of content.

Obviously, it is not always possible for everyone in the world to attend a hybrid class. But, most hybrid programs rely on blended learning to make the best use of resources, rather than completely virtual delivery.

 

When is hybrid learning most effective?

Although hybrid learning is a strategy that is built to meet various needs, not every company has the same expectations. Organizations have varying definitions of hybrid learning, and their business goals may be very different.  Certain traditional business processes are difficult to adjust for when part-time or remote employees are used.

For example, an employee's work environment at home may not be conducive to the work they do at their place of employment. Sometimes the activities that require specialized training or software programs can't be accomplished at a remote location or in the absence of the training.  However, we find that companies that embrace hybrid learning focus on the benefits that hybrid learning provides for their employees as well as the organization as a whole.

There are a variety of benefits that make hybrid learning a cost-effective solution for improving education and training programs.  Offers learning and development employees more flexibility and control. Traditional education models require people to be physically in a classroom for up to five hours each week. However, organizations can reduce the duration of a hybrid program if they pick a series of on-demand online sessions that employees can access on the go.

Hybrid learning models offer employees the flexibility to participate in the course at their own pace.  Hybrid learning allows organizations to meet the needs of individuals who work remotely. Employers can tailor content for a diverse group of learners.

Employees can attend a class, work on a project, and take assignments at any time they are physically able.  For companies that may not have the resources to create a large headquarters campus with classrooms and labs, hybrid learning offers a fast-track to competency-based training that helps them reach their goal of zero gaps in competencies. 

Taking the context into account, hybrid learning allows organizations to do more with less, leading to significant cost savings. Companies can often purchase online courses at a fraction of the cost of live classes, making the overall cost for the learner much more affordable.

 

Improved retention rates

Hybrid learning courses enable organizations to offer their learning to their workers while still retaining the lessons that best help them succeed. Compared to in-person learning, online courses increase participant retention rates by as much as 30%, due to increased face-to-face interaction, learning activities, and personal time.

  • Increased connectivity and accessibility: Participants are able to connect in a way that is most comfortable for them while also participating in a higher number of activities.  ·
  • Increased learner engagement: Some learners spend most of their time reading, researching, and discussing the course material, while others have a greater need to actively participate in the learning activities.

 

Engaged employees

Engaged employees are also those who desire to do their work in a particular location. For example, a sales representative is much more engaged if they need to visit clients in their home state rather than work remotely. The same is true for healthcare professionals.

Working from home is a great fit for some people, but not for others. If the healthcare professional is like most people, he or she will need to be in-person with their patients in order to be effective and efficient.  One of the most effective strategies for improving engagement with remote and mobile workers is ensuring that they have access to the same benefits as their in-person counterparts.

 

Expanded career opportunities for employees

Employees in traditional workplaces are often concerned with the threat of remote work or outsourcing, and thus these concerns have delayed the transition into hybrid learning. This is an unfortunate circumstance, because not only do digital learning programs allow you to retain your employees, but they also offer additional opportunities.

Hybrid programs provide support, guidance and help you retain your workforce, because their learning can extend to video chat and in-person meetings.  Increased productivity and retention  Modern blended learning helps students and employees maximize their time and resources while they are in the classroom, preparing for and completing assignments.

 

How Can You Create A Successful Hybrid Learning Environment?

Concerns over the use of Skype and Facetime at meetings and conferences and the fact that people can be in different time zones causes some skepticism for organizations interested in adopting hybrid learning. However, it is possible to overcome these issues by enabling one-way video calls and video chat with no delay between the meeting and the participant.

Companies such as Cisco, Microsoft, and SAP have been pioneering the use of this type of solution in their training and workshops as well as their executive education offerings. Organizations can choose to implement a hybrid system for a number of reasons. For instance, you may choose to encourage collaboration between remote workers and local workers, enabling them to discuss and share their experiences on a regular basis.

 

Consider how your employees learn best

Managing learning today is more complex than it's ever been before. For a number of reasons, employees are now working from home or any number of remote locations. Because of this, it's essential to consider the unique and individual learning and development needs of each individual employee.

If you're unable to attend an in-person training session for your employee, consider the tools and strategies used in in-person learning to optimize your online experience. The most important thing is that you're not creating an inferior experience. As most employees have grown up with the modern technology available, it's critical that your strategy to meet this need aligns with the way your team processes information.

 

Evaluate the needs of your learners

Leverage data-driven insights to manage your programs.  Don't expect too much from 'magical thinking' – plan ahead and start early to make changes.  Work in collaboration with subject matter experts and even peer educators to effectively integrate online and in-person learning.

Promote the need for face-to-face engagement.  As you implement a hybrid training program, make sure to be culturally sensitive. Your hybrid program should be designed and delivered in a way that creates awareness, engagement, and ultimately mastery. Ensure that you’re in-person and virtual learners have a role to play in the delivery of the course. Consider the diversity of your employees and maintain this balance. Work collaboratively to develop best-in-class programs.

 

How to create an effective e-learning program

One of the first steps in creating an effective eLearning program is identifying which learning approaches you want to use. To decide on the best way to deliver an eLearning program, you need to assess your learner’s needs. First, you should ensure your programs are engaging. Make sure they follow the right learning principles so that users will find the learning content useful and interesting.

Next, you should make sure your learning content is structured. Think about how information is presented to learners and how it connects to the way that people think. Lastly, you should ensure your learners learn best through online self-paced training and blended (live and recorded) content. Training is an important component of employee effectiveness, but you must keep the ROI in mind.

 

The Cost of Hybrid Learning 

It’s easy to see how hybrid learning programs can offer cost-savings when it comes to eLearning: which doesn’t require as much time or training staff.  To begin, in order to create a hybrid program that is able to provide value, you need to decide what you’re learning. What skills do you need employees to have? What work can they do that requires a certain set of skills?

If you don’t know the answers to these questions, you’ll struggle to create a useful hybrid program.  To create a hybrid eLearning program that works best for your needs, you must first figure out what you want to learn and where you want to learn. In order to answer this question, it’s important to ask yourself why you’re learning this information.

 

Why Hybrid Learning Is Worth the Investment

It’s well known that a well-established Learning Management System (LMS) or learning management system (LMS) is required to be successful in online learning. The reason is because a well-thought out and interactive learning program is invaluable to a learner and the instructor. It provides a tremendous opportunity for knowledge retention and integration across a number of disciplines.

By including a dynamic menu system, the course content becomes custom to the user and doesn’t repeat. This is particularly important when it comes to those highly interactive types of programs. However, there are some advantages to setting up a program with a hybrid approach.

 

Create a personalised learning experience

Through conversations, employees can recognize their own motivations and the roles that others play in those motivations. They can identify where change is needed and where employees have plateaued. By doing so, employees can see how their own goals fit into the bigger picture, and with that, they can begin the process of action planning. 

Introduce choices for employees. Ensuring that employees have choices in how they interact with content, as well as in how they can share their learning with others, will ensure that employees have their own point of view represented. It will also allow individuals to determine how they want to teach and learn, or to choose how they want to learn.

 

Enable employees to create and keep online learning portfolios

Manage and reinforce learning strategies. More and more organizations are embracing the essential idea that employee learning and development must include a specific process to help identify and reinforce the learning outcomes of every employee. 

This review is indicative of a significant shift that has been happening in the last few years in how we define the concept of learning. It is no longer just something we do after hours, but it’s something we should be doing constantly, across our work and leisure time, throughout our career, and with every interaction with colleagues.  The effect of these shifting perceptions will be felt in how employers and organizations invest in their employees, and the way that individuals and organizations approach learning.

 

Portfolios can be particularly effective when embedded into well-thought-out learning designs

that present learning to employees in specific contexts. Provide opportunities for social learning by designing learning sessions so that team members can share and discuss learning with others in the group. Teams can benefit from hearing what others in their team have achieved, what the challenges were, and what they overcame—all key ingredients in building successful workers. 

Make sure people are willing to stay. Even for more engaged employees, some resistance to taking on online learning may be required. Adapting learning to new modes of learning can require a mindset shift from merely regurgitating information in order to make it stick to making it stick.  Though employees have proven that they’re willing to adapt, they need to be inspired to do so.

 

Provide opportunities for social learning

created just for them.  Mentoring is critical in developing critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and it also allows employees to assess and test themselves to see how they would perform in new or unexpected situations. Mentorship is key to developing a learning culture in an organization, and it can help employees build a sense of community and belonging in the organization that drives greater engagement and learning. 

Mentoring may be the most powerful and long-term of the many tools in the learning arsenal, but building mentorship is not easy.  Be able to measure and track the impact that programs like mentoring have on employee learning.

 

Conclusion

The road to a successful Hybrid Learning Program starts with a clear-cut definition of what a Hybrid Learning Program actually is. Many organizations simply start learning programs with “technology enabled learning.” That’s not to say that a hybrid program doesn’t use technology, but just to differentiate itself from other programs that use just traditional training methods. Another term is “preferred.” This typically describes an organization’s preference for the hybrid learning experience. The employees within an organization are often a driving factor in its decision to utilize a hybrid program. They may prefer the opportunity to participate in a hands-on virtual training session.

In addition, hybrid learning makes it possible for the company to engage with the globe’s knowledge workers, whether they’re on-site or remote. Many organizations are exploring hybrid learning because it is a cost-effective, effective learning platform.

Date
2021-11-15