The idea of lecture-heavy, “sage on the stage” classroom training has been an antiquated notion in workplace learning for quite some time, particularly in a global organization. Images of snoozing, daydreaming, multi-tasking attendees (because they really aren’t “participants” at that point, are they?) come to mind, and any shred of intended value or applicable learning flies right out the window (likely the same window the attendees are staring out of, wishing they were anywhere but in training).
Does that mean classroom training is dead? Not at all.
Depending on the organization, classroom-based training is very much alive and still has its place in workplace learning. It can be an incredibly effective method, when implemented appropriately. That said…
“Appropriately” doesn’t mean a trainer, standing idly at the front of the room, reading wordy PowerPoint slides.
“Appropriately” doesn’t mean unleashing the “training by firehose” approach.
“Appropriately” doesn’t mean cramming three days of content into one day for the sake of saving a buck.
“Appropriately” doesn’t mean letting a rogue employee “dial in” to a full-day classroom session to simply listen over the phone…and assuming they “learned” something.
“Appropriately” doesn’t mean a one-size-fits-all audience.
“Appropriately” doesn’t mean butts-in-seats.
Appropriate classroom training means leveraging the face-to-face time to set participants up for success where it really counts – on the job.
Employing a blended learning approach can help learning teams implement effective strategies, both in and out of the classroom. If you utilize classroom-based training in your organization, consider these 6 ideas for getting started with blended learning:
- Incorporate a variety of self-guided resources to supplement the classroom experience – Online courses, articles, videos or even internal wikis, blogs or FAQs can be a great way for participants to continue learning at their own pace following the classroom session.
- Flip the classroom – What can participants do prior to the training session to prepare them to fully immerse themselves in the classroom? Provide an on-topic pre-reading selection, assign an online course or share a relevant video. Doing a little homework ahead of time should provide a successful start on the learning journey.
- Get people talking – Leverage social and collaboration tools, either through your LMS or an enterprise platform like Yammer, SharePoint, Socialcast or Chatter, to start the discussion prior to training, and continue after the session ends. Ask for feedback, let the participants share questions and answers with each other, commit to action plans, encourage them to share how they are using the content on the job.
- Show-and-tell – Can participants apply what they’ve learned in the classroom by mentoring new employees as they join the team? It can be as simple as doing a “teach-back” for others on the team when they return from training…give them opportunities to use what they’ve learned in a real, practical way.
- “Chunk” it up – Break a full classroom course into bite-sized, on-demand content that is easily accessed. Participants can easily access or review the content they need, exactly when they need it.
- Involve the managers – According to a study by Broad and Newstrom, the most critical key to making sure training sticks is to get the participants’ immediate supervisors involved. How can they help their employees prepare for training, or apply what they’ve learned after training? Remember, coaching is part of the “20%” of the 70-20-10 model…don’t underestimate its value!
Integrating a blended approach to learning programs doesn’t have to be complicated. All it takes is some mindful planning to provide the most effective solution for creating an environment that is conducive for relevant, meaningful learning.
Your turn: Are you using a blended learning approach? How did you get started? What benefits have you seen as a result? Use the comments section below to share your thoughts!