If training is such an integral part of personal and job role development, why do results and outcomes not meet expectations? How can blended learning bridge this divide?
It may seem strange that as MD of a training business, I think most of the training being offered today is possibly a waste of time – and money.
What!? Surely some mistake …
The Shortfalls of Traditional Learning Techniques
Before you get the wrong idea, I firmly believe that the best people to deliver your results work in your business right now. If some were a bad hire then that may be because of a poor selection process but, if you accept that the team you have now is the dream team then the question is this: how can you improve their performance?
When you hear someone say ‘training’ what do you think of?
Maybe it's a group of people in a seminar room with a trainer sharing slides? If its a good session then there will be some lively activities and debates. Indeed, there is nothing wrong with classroom learning (at RTS Group we deliver quite a lot of it) but it can have a limited effect. We often call this the ‘Chinese meal effect’ – you feel full up and satisfied immediately afterwards, but by the time you get home you are hungry again.
Many forward-thinking organisations – and many outside the automotive sector – realise that classroom training is part of the mix, that is requires a blended learning approach with a range of mediums to challenge and develop people. This is not about cost saving, but about ensuring you are delivering the best learning and development for your teams.
Let’s also consider how adults, in the workplace, prefer their learning; we all have reduced time, more pressures and many calls on our attention and we need to ensure that time away from the workplace is used effectively. It may surprise you that it's not just millennials who are glued to their screens – the majority of us transact online quite naturally and easily. Look at today’s students – they learn from their peer group in forums and discussion groups online alongside lectures and other communications from their tutors. Access to wider study and reference materials are online and the role of the tutor, in many cases, is to provide links and guidance to the right materials and equip students with their own research skills.
This mixture of both digital and face-to-face learning techniques is known as blended learning. Spreading information over a variety of platforms and environments provides a buffet where each learning style can find content to suit.
The Learning Blend
What might a blended learning journey look like? A good rule of thumb can come from the 70:20:10 model, first proposed by Lombardo and Eichinger in The Career Architect Development Planner, which gives a platform to base a learning programme upon:
“Development generally begins with a realization of current or future need and the motivation to do something about it. This might come from feedback, a mistake, watching other people’s reactions, failing or not being up to a task – in other words, from experience. The odds are that development will be about 70% from on-the-job experiences – working on tasks and problems; about 20% from feedback and working around good and bad examples of the need; and 10% from courses and reading.”
The role of your training team and your learning and development partners is to develop the 10% of formal learning, but increasingly to help support your managers in coaching and to provide ongoing support beyond the classroom. Managers and leaders play a crucial role in developing your teams and performance development is not a one-time fix via a training programme.
How to build a blended journey
The key step is to provide an online resource.
At RTS Group, we introduced our RTS Learning App. This allows us to engage with learners through the particular learning journey.
- Load the app with key information that can be accessed 24-7, such as reading material, videos or animations.
Make the app interactive, so learners get to know each other, and can also use it as a registration point for events.
- Include live feeds, where latest news and views can be shared.
- Ensure documents can be downloaded so they can be used on a phone, tablet or laptop.
- Include managers in the learning group, so they can coach and support the learning aims.
Here’s one example of how the RTS Learning App worked in practice. A manufacturer client launched two new products in the same month. We created two very different events, but were able to use one learning app, downloadable from Google Play or the Apple Store, which provided support for two very different events and products. This allowed our client to have maximum engagement with the retail staff and get bang from their buck in creating one app for two products. The learning extended from an experiential event, on into the workplace, and continuing to support staff right through the launch period.
If you’d like to find out more about how to build a blended learning journey, using the latest digital technology, please get in touch with the L&D team here at RTS Group.
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