What is blended learning, and how is it used to enhance training and development? Is the sum truly more effective than each part?
These five organizations are redefining how blended learning impacts employee development:
1. Genentech: To train director-level employees, Genen-tech created the Strategic Team Leader Pro-gram, which blends various mediums, including peer coaching, social media, classroom learning, leaders teaching leaders and one-to-one coaching. A varied approach of group and oneâ€‘on-one training helps learners find a style best for them and mixes interactions and realistic practice. According to Meribeth Germino, senior performance consultant at Genentech, “Our leaders learn best when their ‘whole person’ is developed — i.e., mentally, emotionally, kinesthetically and interpersonally.”
2. Accenture: In its SAP IS-Automotive PAL Training program, Accenture uses a blended solution to forge relationships that help train employees in the automotive industry.
“With increasing demand for deeper specialization comes increasing demand for access to experts,” said Mary Carole Prasse, capability solutions manager at Accenture. Thus, for training solutions that require expert faculty, we are often challenged with gaining access to expert faculty in locations where we have a critical mass of people to conduct training.”
To meet these needs, Accenture’s interactive training includes presentations, videos, hands-on activities and faculty-student discussions.
“By blending our virtual and classroom learning capabilities, we are able to cost-effectively bring the expert faculty from one part of the globe to the front of a classroom in another part of the globe and allow them to team with a local facilitator to deliver hands-on, interactive training,” Prasse said.
3. Genpact Analytics: Genpact’s Disha Advanced Analytical Learning program has three phases: online pre-training and pre-testing features; training in a virtual WebEx classroom; and faculty involvement.
According to Harlina Sodhi, vice president of corporate training at Genpact, the company is a “‘learning organization’ continuously focused on being on the cutting edge of process and technological excellence to solve business problems. We understood that the natural evolution of classroom training was to go to e-learning and then move toward blended learning, [so we] proactively worked to institutionalize this powerful learning methodology. The use of blended learning has helped solve our challenge of multiple-location training demands [and] contributed dollar savings in terms of time and resources, while ensuring an effective and constructive learning effectiveness.”
Genpact’s approach addresses varied levels of learners located around the world and enables the company to handle diverse topics in banking, retail, health care and manufacturing. Blended learning also bridges the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical application. In particular, Genpact aims to enable independent learning while retaining a human touch.
4. Diageo: To meet the needs of a diverse workforce, the drink manufacturer uses a blended approach to Microsoft Office suite training. Developed with NIIT (USA) Inc., the solution includes on-site and public instructor-led classes, virtual instructor-led training, off-the-shelf e-learning courses and administrative and marketing support. By mixing online, on-site and self-paced training, the solution reduces both learning and travel time and has increased employee productivity.
5. R.L. Polk & Co.: To train sales personnel on how to differentiate its automotive products from those of its competitors, R.L. Polk worked with Innovative Learning Group to create the PolkConnect Sales Enablement Certification Process. This solution blends a printed packet, online Web modules, an instructor-led workshop, assignments, tech-based job aids and coaching.
“A well-designed blended solution includes the right mix and sequence of delivery methods and instructional strategies. When this is the case, learners build the targeted skills and knowledge they need in the most time- and cost-efficient manner,” said Lisa Toenniges, president of ILG. “The key is ensuring that specific delivery methods and strategies enable learners to achieve the defined learning objectives. For instance, teaching employees how to climb a utility pole through hands-on training is more effective than having them take a Web-based course.”
Brandon Hall is CEO of Brandon Hall Research, publisher of the study “Emerging e-Learning: New Approaches to Delivering Engaging Online Learning Content.” He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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