3 Amazing Examples of Blended Learning Boosting the Workforce
Modern businesses operate in an era of cutting-edge technology, rapidly changing skills and global competition. It is no surprise, then, that global spending on employee training and development has steadily risen over the past 10 years. According to TrainingIndustry.com, global businesses spent $370 billion on employee training in 2019. It decreased to $358 billion in 2020 due to COVID-19 but is expected to bounce back in 2021 and beyond. However, our 2019 Enterprise Learning Annual Report revealed that only 7 percent of surveyed businesses report being ‘highly satisfied’ with the effectiveness of their current learning programs.
This fits with the findings of the Association for Talent Development, which reports that employees lose 90 percent of the skills they learned in training once they return to their usual job routines.
Blended learning, which is essentially learning using a combination of numerous methodologies, can play a key role in resolving this issue. A blended approach to learning has been shown to significantly improve the effectiveness and impact of training programs, and in doing so, can help organizations see healthy results and ROI.
What Is Blended Learning?
Often referred to as hybrid learning or integrated learning, blended learning combines the best features of eLearning with traditional lectures and self-learning through digital content, such as videos, games and experiential tech. It is founded on three key training approaches:
- Live, in-person, instructor-led classroom sessions
- Digital eLearning which can include videos, audio and other media-rich supporting materials
- Structured time for self-study based on the classroom sessions and the eLearning material
Flexibility and Fun
The average employee only has time to devote 1 percent of their work week to professional development, Deloitte reports. That’s about 5 minutes per day in a 40-hour work week. A high-quality LMS can schedule blended learning in shorter segments with different modalities over a matter of days or weeks, which both increases learning retention and fits better into busy employee schedules.
Employees can then engage with their learning in their own space and time. Is the speaker going too fast? Learners can hit pause and replay key parts. And your sophisticated LMS can automatically track employees’ progress and check in on those who have paused at certain points. Your system can ascertain if that training module is too long, too difficult, or perhaps the employee has simply forgotten to continue.
As blended learning offers multiple training options, employees will be more engaged and feel more empowered by learning new tools and technology along with job-related content. Interactive tech, such as videos and gamified learning, can also capture and extend attention spans and bring an element of fun to training courses. Using frequent, short modules, such as microlearning or text-based training, is another way to improve engagement and retention through staggered learning.
Augmented reality (AR) or mixed reality (MR), is one technology that has emerged as a gamechanger during the COVID-19 pandemic. Using any mobile device with a camera, your employees can collaborate, troubleshoot and learn by manipulating virtual objects in their real environment. So, for example, a technician can learn how to service a large ATM machine remotely, taking a visual tour of the machine and following step-by-step instructions on how to operate or repair it from anywhere. You might already recognize the power behind a technology like this when used as part of blended learning.
With blended learning, organizations are able to enhance their economies of scale to reduce costs while also improving learning outcomes. Here are three fascinating examples of how blended learning can be deployed across enterprises:
Ernst & Young
Ernst & Young, a multinational professional services firm, began adopting blended learning solutions as far back as 2000. Soon after implementation, the company was able to reduce its training expenditures by 35 percent without sacrificing the consistency and quality of the training. In fact, thanks to eLearning techniques, their training programs became far more scalable. They were able to condense 2,900 hours of classroom learning into 700 hours of web-based learning, 200 hours of distance learning and 500 hours of classroom instructions, cutting total training time by about half. This streamlining of the L&D process had far-reaching consequences. The company was able to launch a global eLearning platform to engage its 100,000+ workforce, which led to reduced costs and improved professional development.
The Boeing Company
Aviation giant Boeing had a number of specific training challenges. It wanted to improve its capture team leader (CTL) training for their sales teams in close alignment with their business development objectives. The company devised a blended learning solution by launching eight web-based training lessons in a virtual learning environment. This enabled a large number of participants to gain foundational knowledge about the job role, responsibilities and tools prior to a four-day live course. The live course then exposed these primed participants to lessons from experienced CTLs who weren’t otherwise easily accessible in person due to their ongoing duties. The results of the training were fabulous. 82.5 percent of participants rated the course content as immediately applicable to their jobs and ranked the training an average of 4.5 out of 5 in the areas of knowledge gain, value, performance improvement and job impact.
Microprocessor behemoth Intel prides itself on its record of minimal product defects. Given the complexity of their technical assembly lines, the company needed their technicians to be extremely proficient with equipment. Technicians needed not only to operate the equipment flawlessly, but also to perform preventative maintenance and troubleshoot when required. However, the core technical competencies of these technicians varied by site and location. This required Intel to implement a training solution that could connect across locations and across experience levels with minimal time investment.
The company developed and implemented a blended learning approach that combined digital simulations, scenarios and interactive exercises to achieve higher retention rates amongst the workers. The program followed a performer-centric learning model that integrated training projects as an extension of their regular duties. This approach enabled technicians to quickly learn new skills within the context of the factory, using a combination of experiential learning and self-paced learning, supported by collaborative and instructor-led models. The training was conducted over two weeks and resulted in a 157 percent ROI with a benefits-to-cost ratio of 2.27.
These examples showcase how L&D teams that take on a more adaptable and flexible approach combined with real-world training in digital learning environments, support employees in tangible ways:
- Provides learners with personalized feedback from instructors using digital tools for maximum convenience
- Gives access to online learning resources from anywhere, at anytime
- Increases social sharing that develops peer interaction in real-time for additional learning support
- Improves engagement levels by gamifying the learning process through competitive and progress tracking tools
- Enables adaptive learning that allows every learner to progress at their own pace
- Exposes learners to practical, real-world project training that directly relates to the organization’s ongoing efforts
- Enables L&D teams to deploy a Learning Management System (LMS) that helps manage and monitor employee progress and assist as needed
Interested in reshaping or reinvigorating your L&D with blended learning? Contact one of our Enterprise Learning specialists to discover how blended learning can help your workforce and outcomes.
Natalia Kossobokova is the Content Marketing Manager at CGS. She spearheads the development of global marketing content which includes videos, blog posts, newsletters, editorials, emails and other marketing projects.