The Importance of Blended Learning

Employee or membership retention is critical to the mission of most organizations and associations. Equally important is to have those tenured people actively participating in the organization and/or communities to support the overall mission.

How can organizations keep employees or members focused on their mission?

Many associations rely on their continuing education programs to support their mission by creating value, relevancy and engagement. At a time when organizations are uncertain about the world economy and their own futures, it is essential that their continuing education programs are effective.

How is Training Best Delivered: Online or On-Site?

Many studies suggest that the most effective learning technique is one that involves a variety of learning methods. Particularly effective are those which blend face-to-face classroom training with a digital or interactive format. Learning has proven to be the least effective when only a single learning method is presented. For example, content presented only in an eLearning format is not as effective on its own as it would be if it was used in conjunction with traditional classroom training.

3 Options for an Effective Blended Learning Program

If you want learners to get the most value and engagement from your continuing education programs, it’s time to create a blended learning solution.

To create an effective learning program, consider using a component of each of the following:

  1. Classroom Training. Use a face-to-face classroom setting to train on subjects that require instructor-led assignments, peer collaboration and activities. Networking is the real advantage of this training method. Social networks are great, but nothing compares to face-to-face meetings for true bonds and rapport.
  2. eLearning. Computer-Based Training (CBT) and Web-Based Training (WBT) are great ways to cater to different learning styles and capture learned results for continuing education credits. In addition, not everyone learns well in a classroom setting, so including an eLearning format ensures everyone is getting the most out of your training.
  3. Mobile. This can be an aspect of eLearning, but mobile is important enough to consider separately. It’s important to develop content that allows people to learn on their own time. Consumer devices such as smartphones and tablets are making it easy to consume content anywhere, anytime. Help learners make the conversion from one-time training to lifelong learners by having them access content and learn on their own time.

What do you think makes up the best blended learning program?

3 Mistakes Associations Make With On-Site Training

Association’s on-site training events play a critical role in building relevancy and increasing membership value and satisfaction. In fact, in our recent survey out of 280 respondents, 97.8% told us their on-site training seminars are valuable/extremely valuable for attendees.

But with dwindling training budgets (60.3%), frequent content changes (57.1%) and inventory management (44.3%) being the top challenges many associations are allocating more of their funds from on-site to online training.

Allocating more of your association’s budget to online training is not a mistake, but there are a few you should avoid in the process…

3 Avoidable Mistakes for On-Site Training

  1. Ditching Printed Training Materials. Even if your association is moving some of your educational training content online, certain materials like training manuals or instructor manuals still hold their value in print. According to our recent survey, printed materials were said to be nearly 90% effective for on-site training. So it may not be time to ditch the plastic coil student workbooks, but it might be time to complement them with online availability.
  2. Lacking Interactivity. One-way lectures are sure to draw your attendees’ attention from learning to daydreaming, texting and checking email. Make your association training fun and engaging. Interactive learning can help participants relax and feel comfortable within the environment which ultimately leads to a more effective trainings seminar.
  3. Archiving Training Content in a LMS. If you’re looking for a place to store last year’s training materials online, your LMS may initially look like a great option, right? Ehhh… If you’re looking to create an ongoing online archive of your dynamic training content, you need to have a robust digital publishing platform (which will also benefit your SEO). Just because your LMS is great for administering eLearning and issuing credits doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a great place to store your content.

Remember: It’s all about optimizing the learning and networking experience for your members.

What are you doing to optimize their experience? Talk to us on Twitter: #omnipress

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