15 Aug Anywhere, Anytime: Blended Learning in Hybrid Workplaces
Work used to be a place you went to. It was a building, or an office, or a factory. You had to be there, in that physical space, to do your job. But then something happened. We got laptops, email, and high-speed internet. Work no longer needed to happen in one place anymore. We could work from home, or from a coffee shop, or from the beach.
Even before Covid-19, the decoupling of where work happens from how work gets done was on the rise. Organizations now realize what most remote workers already know―work can get done from anywhere, anytime. The pandemic has only accelerated this trend, as more and more people prefer to work from home.
As businesses confront this reality at an unprecedented pace and scale, many companies embrace a comfortable median: hybrid workplaces.
What are hybrid workplaces?
The hybrid workplace model combines employees who work remotely with those who work on-site. Some or all have flexibility in where and when they work. Moreover, the allocation of office hours is planned based on days, teams, or as necessary. This arrangement offers many advantages for both employers and employees.
For employers, the most significant benefit is obvious: cost savings. More and more companies realize they no longer need to lease or buy large office spaces. Instead, they can now get by with smaller, more efficient office footprints.
For employees, the attraction of hybrid workplaces is threefold: flexibility, independence, and collaboration. With hybrid workplaces, employees can choose when and where they want to work, giving them greater control over their lives.
But what does this trend mean for training and development? Two words: blended learning.
What is blended learning?
Blended learning is a training model incorporating online and offline learning experiences. Blended learning allows businesses to tailor their L&D programs to the specific needs of their employees. It also provides employees with the flexibility to learn at their own pace and in their own time. This approach is particularly beneficial for businesses with a dispersed workforce, enabling them to provide access to training programs from anywhere in the world.
How to implement blended learning in a hybrid workplace
Let’s have a look at some practical tips on how to put in place blended learning programs successfully:
- Use training to build team cohesion
In a hybrid workplace, it is essential to use training as a way to build team cohesion. Create a sense of unity and purpose within the company by learning together. Employees who feel part of a cohesive team are more likely to be productive and engaged.
- Develop a custom corporate training program
Offering training specific to the needs of the company ensures employees can meet any special demands of the job. This makes employees feel valued. When employees feel valued, they are happy to stay and develop their careers within the company.
- Create an online learning platform
A web-based learning platform delivers courses and modules to employees at their convenience. You can also use the online learning platform to track employee progress, making it easy to identify areas of improvement.
- Use technology to support blended learning
You can use websites, mobile apps, and social media to engage employees further. This flexible approach gives access to course material outside of traditional work hours.
Are there any potential drawbacks to using blended learning?
As with any new technology, there are potential drawbacks to using blended learning. But hybrid workplaces don’t have much choice. A diversified workforce requires a flexible training method. Here are some potential disadvantages that businesses need to be aware of and how you can overcome them:
One of the biggest challenges with blended learning is resistance from employees. Many people resist change and may prefer to stick to traditional methods familiar to them. To overcome this, businesses can incentivize employees to try the new system, such as additional paid time off.
Blended learning can be less productive than traditional training methods. Employees required to complete training courses online can get distracted by “urgent” tasks in front of them. The solution is to provide clear instructions and monitor employee progress closely.
And lastly, it is challenging to create compelling content for a blended learning environment. It is imperative to work with professional instructional designers with the experience and a proven record to deliver precisely what your company needs.
Need to explore more about blended learning strategies for your business? Give us a call! Our team of expert trainers will help you discover best practices for your training needs.