Blended learning spices up the training mix

first_imgBlended learning spices up the training mixOn 1 Nov 2003 in Personnel Today A survey conducted this year by Training Magazine and BalanceLearning finds there has been an upsurge in the use of blended learning.  Here’s what the result meanOrganisations are embracing blended learning, and they can now cater forindividual learning styles and offer a more in-depth training experience as aresult. These are the findings of the latest survey from Training Magazine, run inconjunction with blended-learning publisher, Balance Learning. A total of 173 questionnaires were completed online and from the Juneedition of Training Magazine by a range of business and training professionals,representing organisations with more than 1.95 million personnel between them. Of this total, more than 1.1 million work in organisations that currentlyuse blended learning, and nearly 500,000 are employed by organisations thatplan to use blended learning in the future. A wide range of organisations were represented, including Government andservices, finance and banking, manufacturing, education, IT and technicalindustries Yet despite this diversity, all of the respondents had focusedopinions on the definition of blended learning. Mixture Nearly all the replies to the question ‘How would you define blendedlearning?’ were based around the idea that “it is a mixture or combinationof different training media used to deliver a full training experience”.Many respondents believe that its use is to “match preferred learningstyles” or “to deliver training by the most appropriate method”.The majority of respondents indicated that they believe it employstraditional methods of training, such as face-to-face training, withtechnology-based training, such as online delivery. One respondent’sdefinition, that “blended learning is the provision of complementarylearning content to the same audience in more than one media to meet commonlearning objectives”, stood out in particular as a good summary. Interest in blended learning is on the increase. In response to the question‘Are you currently using blended learning?’, 55 per cent said they arecurrently using blended learning within their organisations, while 27 per centare planning to do so. The survey also explored the challenges to introducing or using blendedlearning programmes. We asked you to indicate the most common barriers, fromcost of development through to poor line management support. Of thoseorganisations that currently use blended learning, 68 per cent said the keychallenge to its implementation was the cost of its development (which isreflected in the drive to develop materials in-house) while 45 per cent feelthat organisational culture issues were the key challenge when it was beingintroduced. So, what is blended learning being used for? An overwhelming 73 per cent useit for business-specific training. More than half of blended-learning usersalso use it to learn management skills (58 per cent) and IT/technical trainingat 54 per cent. Organisations new to blended learning also have plans to use itfor a wide range of IT and technical skills training, and similar levels planto use it for personal effectiveness training and management skills training. The majority (79 per cent) of organisations that currently use blendedlearning are combining the existing training resources they have to delivertheir programmes. More than half (59 per cent) are currently developing new purpose-builtresources and events in-house, and only 27 per cent are looking externally tosupply resources for programmes – although a relatively healthy 40 per cent oforganisations indicated that they are developing resources from a mixture ofin-house and external resources. Readers seem to be taking a mix-and-match approach to sourcing theindividual components for their blended learning programmes. An overwhelming 79per cent indicated that they design and host the face-to-face componentsin-house, whereas only 38 per cent source and deliver this training externally.A preferred option is to have face-to-face training designed externally buthosted internally, with 42 per cent indicating this. When it comes to sourcing the components currently provided throughe-learning, the components tend to be more equally sourced and delivered.Nearly a third (32 per cent) have generic off-the-shelf e-learning designed andhosted externally, and 32 per cent have it designed externally and hostedin-house. Just over half (51 per cent) indicated that customised e-learning ismore likely to be designed and hosted in- house, which fits the requirement forits use in business-specific training. Looking ahead to the future, it seems the current preferred option fordesigning blended learning components in-house will continue. A whopping 87 percent of current users plan to design and host their future face-to-faceclassroom events in-house. Accompanying collateral, such as workbooks, willalso be designed in-house, with 73 per cent indicating this is their intention,and 83 per cent developing follow-up assignments and activities in-house.Custom e-components of blended learning will also be developed in-house by themajority of current users (62 per cent). However, organisations see the benefits of buying off-the-shelf generice-learning packages, with 40 per cent citing that they will have it developedexternally and hosted internally, and 39 per cent indicating they will have itdeveloped and hosted externally. Over the past year, the training and HR community has started to recognisethe value of individual learning styles. As last month’s Analysis revealed(Training Magazine October 2003), training is shifting from a top-downintervention, to learning which focuses on the individual and team as anongoing process. MatchingThe use of blended learning plays a part in this trend, our survey reveals.Organisations use it because they have recognised the importance of matching anindividual’s preferred learning style with the appropriate training delivery.This was the feedback from 80 per cent of current users, who state this is whythey use it, and 74 per cent plan to for the same reason. The survey also reveals a desire to deliver more individually-tailoredtraining solutions, with more than 70 per cent of organisations which currentlyuse blended learning stating that this is why they use it. By employing more targeted techniques, organisations are also keen toimprove the efficiency of their training, with 62 per cent saying that it willimprove the learning rate, while 59 per cent said it will help them exploit theinvestments they’ve already made in re-usable training resources, and 57 percent said they are too short of time to use purely classroom events. The target audience for blended learning is junior management, and themajority of organisations use blended learning to train middle or juniormanagement staff, with 67 per cent using it to train the former, and 64 percent the latter. It is also popular for training team leaders and supervisors,with 62 per cent of respondents using it for this group, while less than halfcurrently use it to train senior management. We asked readers to indicate which skills are most important to the deliveryof blended learning. Three-quarters of all respondents indicated that the mostimportant skills a blended-learning trainer requires are a mixture ofunderstanding the training needs of the audience and how they prefer to learn,and how best the components of the course can be blended to give maximumdelivery. Less than 40 per cent of all respondents indicated that specificskills related to the ‘e-component’, such as IT skills, course-authoring skillsand online tutoring knowledge, were important attributes to be found inblended-learning trainers. The use of blended learning looks set to increase. Nearly 25 per cent ofcurrent users estimate that more than 50 per cent of their total training(blended and non-blended) will be delivered using these methods. More thanone-third believe they will be delivering more than half of their totaltraining provision through blended learning methods by 2005. There is a drive to evaluate blended learning, with 95 per cent currentlyevaluating it or planning to evaluate it in some way. The most popular way toevaluate blended learning is through paper-based evaluation forms, with 73 percent of current blended-learning users citing that they use this method. Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more

Read More →