In this article targeted at Learning & Development Professionals, you shall understand how to effectively integrate Blended learning into your Learning Strategy. The Application and benefits of a Learning Management System; understand when to deploy the Variants of E-Learning, Micro-Learning and Social Learning and the how lean and simple Metrics captured through LMS can facilitate the deriving of ROI from your Blended Learning Strategy.
Although Learning Management Systems (LMS) have evolved with the dynamic technological trends from Enterprise On-Premise Solutions to Cloud-Based SaaS Solutions, and the features have improved drastically to give Learner’s the most preferred Learning Experience, there is still a lot of scope towards effective adoption and application of Online Learning as a whole (LMS + E-Learning/Micro-Learning/Social Learning put together).
We still see Learning Management Systems used partially, typically to administer Surveys, or to host recorded learning modules of dated formats (Content formats like Word, PDF or MP4 or Flash). The ineffectiveness has often been due to the poor Learning Strategy which has treated Online Learning in bits and pieces, without truly integrating the real value of Online Learning in today’s age of Data and Intelligence.
An Effective Learning Strategy is one that integrates a globally accepted 70:20:10 mix of:
- On the Job Learning
- Coaching/Mentoring, and
- Blended Learning: Traditional Learning (Classrooms, Experiential) + Online Learning (LMS with E-Learning, Micro-Learning, Social Learning)
We move our focus to Blended Learning, as part of the intent of this article.
How to create your Blended Learning Strategy?
A Blended Learning Strategy can result in a paradigm shift to your Talent Transformation initiatives – irrespective of the size of the Organization from Start-ups to SMBs to Large Enterprise.
Key Benefits of a Blended Learning Strategy:
- It encourages Self-Paced Learning for the Learning Community to take up learning at their own pace 24/7 and on the move
- A Well-integrated Learning Strategy addresses Diverse Learning and Development of a diverse workforce
- With the right customization and choice of LMS – the Learning experience can be made highly engaging & fun
- As Business operate more and more virtually with remote locations, a Blended Learning Strategy can ease the deployment issues by leveraging technology
- Since the Learners are never taken away from their day to day Business Tasks, Online Self-paced Learning boosts productivity and in turn, correlates to Cost Effective Learning Solutions
- Learning can be distributed in understandable, smaller chunks by leveraging Micro-Learning as an option which meets focused learning objectives through Need based and Just In Time (JIT) Learning
The choice of the Strategy’s Blend of Traditional to Online Learning shall vary based on key factors of your Talent Pool, such as:
- Cultural Diversity
- Age, Roles
- Organizational Structure
- Location: Single or Multiple
- The Investment for L&D – a very decisive factor
Let us take a couple of scenarios, where a Blended Learning Strategy can add great value to your Organization’s learning and in the creation of your desired Learning Culture.
For an extremely agile business like a Start-up, where every minute during Business is vital to drive collaborative synergy among cross functional teams, the Blend of Online to Traditional Learning could be on the higher end. The Culture in such an organization is fast paced and it demands self-paced, highly engaging, fun inclusive and bite sized learning for focused learning and development needs. Creating a Strategy that is tilted more towards Traditional Learning methods of Class-room based learning can dilute your Learning Strategy.
In these kinds of scenarios, The Blended Learning can have more of micro-learning and social learning to enable higher engagement and competency development driven by trends and business needs. It is cost effective and complements the technological savviness of the Culture of Start-up.
For a Medium Sized Organization of predominantly highly experienced individuals, where the count of younger Generations is lot lesser, and where the Technology transformation is still at its intermediate maturity levels you may need to look at a very different Blend.
The Learning Strategy that would cater to a demographic such as this, would be primarily driven by Traditional Learning methods and complemented with Online Learning Capsules – predominantly e-Learning - as part of continuous Learning, Assessments (Pre and Post) and managing Learning Progress.
For a Conglomerate, which is spread across multiple locations, the challenges include diverse cultures, time-zones, virtual teams and languages to list a few.
In such a diverse Organization, it is important to build an inclusive Learning Strategy that respects diversity and inclusion.
Consider the example of rolling out Global Compliance Policies for a large organization, it is impractical to adopt traditional learning methods - it’s expensive and time consuming. Alternatively, if the same can be deployed globally through an online platform, one can ensure the Compliance Policy is distributed through a one-time micro-learning solution effort and tracked to closure through the same platform. It is cost effective; one can also ensure agility in the learning environment by integrated learning platform with the micro-learning solutions.
The Blended Learning Strategy in such conglomerate shall vary based on the need - localized or universal context, the intended agility and specialized skill or generic need. However, as a Learning and Development Professional who is accountable to drive the Global Learning Strategy it is vital to adopt online platform (LMS) to integrate the Learning Culture for the Conglomerate and to benchmark Core Competencies for the Enterprise’s Success - globally.
How to derive ROI?
Learning Management Systems have evolved and with the advent of Data, Intelligence and Analytics it is extremely important for L&D Professionals and Talent Management Teams to leverage these Systems for more inspired Talent Management Activities that is data-driven, and business focused.
This is an opportunity for L&D Professionals to be true Business Enablers and Partners, by complementing their Strategies and Efforts with Data and Analytics to back their intent and drive the emphasis on their contribution towards Business Outcomes.
With effective customization and practice of your chosen LMS, a Learning and Development Professional can extract Data and Analytics such as:
- Engagement Metrics: Employee Engagement, Employee Net Promoter Score, Absentee Report, Participation in Idea Generation/Innovation
- Performance Metrics: Performance Levels by Teams, Business Units and Roles
- Competence Metrics: Average Competency Improvement Levels, Availability of Potential Leaders with desired Leadership Competency, Availability of Potential Successors for Succession Planning initiatives
- ROI Metrics that correlate to Top Line or Bottom Line Improvement: Productivity Improvement, Customer Retention, Revenue generated through Innovation, Faster Decision Making in turn leading to Improved Turn-around Time
In this article, we have tried to highlight the effective application of Blended Learning Strategy –known to some and unknown to some – Feel free to write to us at email@example.com to understand how you can align your Blended Learning Strategy and How you can deploy Learning Management Systems – to its true effectiveness.