Integrate Online Training, Don’t Separate

Integrate Training, Don’t Separate

In today’s workplace, more and more companies recognize building engaging team learning as a necessity, but the question often becomes, “what should that learning look like?”

We wanted to spell things out a little more clearly: do this when building team learning, and don’t do that. These best (and worst) practices can shape the framework of an effective and engaging learning program at any organization looking to increase employee productivity and confidence.

Do This: Blended learning

Online and offline training do have respective strengths and weaknesses. Some managers might prefer to use only one method for certain reasons, but a blend of both online and offline almost always yields the best results. You might expect us to say that online learning software, like Lessonly, includes very useful features that make employee learning easier—and it does. But classroom learning centered around human-to-human interaction also provides some proven benefits. Education expert Sarah Cordiner explains some benefits of in-person learning:

Despite being able to provide [one-to-one communication] to some degree in online learning through forums and online communities; they will never compare to the teacher-to-student and student-to-student relationships that form in a face to face learning environment.

Face-to-face training also allows for a multitude of learning modes and styles to be met, as well as ad-hoc teacher coaching, as the physical presence facilitates more interactive and practical activities that would not be possible online.

Online learning, like Lessons that managers assign with due dates, can give Learners introductory knowledge on specific topics before classroom-style meetings occur. With the addition of pre-classroom learning, face-to-face time is less about relaying information and more focused on interactively synthesizing and using it.

This complementary integration of online and offline learning increases engagement and retention in Learners.

An easy way to start this healthy balance is by adapting pre-existing training materials into an online counterpart. For help getting started, check out our guide for adapting existing training materials for online learning.

Not That: Information silos

When organizations skew too far toward training exclusively online or exclusively offline, issues arise. Yes, classroom learning is great for fostering human connection, but Sarah Cordiner says that these programs are “more expensive, less scalable, and harder to organize than online learning.” And for all of the benefits of offline training, managers often don’t implement them well. Steps for gathering the feedback necessary to build truly effective learning programs are often undervalued, resulting in one-track training that comes up short.

Online learning software does carry the benefits Sarah talks about, but does lack the human interaction of in-person learning. A study of online Learners, conducted by Laura Salmi of Laurea University, found that even though participants didn’t place high importance on face-to-face meetings with teachers, “the importance of a constant online presence, even through seemingly small and trivial actions, cannot be underestimated.” Moving too completely toward an online-only system may create a disconnect between Learners and the feedback that they need to absorb learning most optimally.

Laura says in her conclusion, “Good planning and communication of learning goals and feedback are—unsurprisingly—important.” Proper planning leads to the synchronization of offline and online learning efforts, which benefits learners greatly. Creating a seamless learning experience that flows between centralized online Lessons and offline discussion is what enables learners to really understand and apply the presented concepts.

Encourage blended learning with Lessonly

Lessonly’s team learning software is flexible enough for companies to facilitate team learning on and offline. Take a self-guided, five-step tour of our team learning software and see how it works. Sign up today.

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