We were all raised with the belief that you have to regularly complete a training course. Not only to keep up with new developments in your industry, but also to acquire new skills that you may need to climb the career ladder. Skills like leadership, communication, project management and providing positive feedback, just to name a few.
It's commonly the managers and HR staff who are dead serious about increasing your knowledge and improving your skills. They recognize the importance when you want to grow your organiziation, or stay ahead of your competition. And we support this belief, 100%.
However, we do not always support the effectiveness of the available training courses. How much of your personal development budget truly results in visible changes in the workplace?
We're not suggesting that you have wasted all your development dollars. We're also not suggesting that other training courses are bad. The point we're trying to make is that courses could be more effective. You not only want your employees to grow and develop, but you also want to see them apply their new skills in the workplace. When you register them for a course too early in their career, they'll have forgotten what they learned when the need for their newly acquired skill has finally arrived. When you register them for a course too late in their career, they (or their co-workers) have not been able to enjoy the benefits of necessary skills.
Effectivity depends on timing, as well as the training method. A 'one size fits all' solution, be it standard or custom made, requires students to compromise. How can you expect people with completely different backgrounds, ages, skill sets, and experiences to gain the same results from the same course?
Not everyone learns the same way
There's a huge difference between a 26 year old project leader or an HR employee with over fifteen years of experience both trying to complete a course in how to become the best 'situational leader'. One might not yet be ready for this course, while the other could have benefited from it years ago. And even though they'll share some procedures, tactics and strategies, they will both have different skills they'll need to improve on. What is like a walk in the park for one person, may be very difficult to learn for the other. And vice-versa. It is an illusion to think that everyone benefits equally from the same course. Just like it is an illusion to think that every dollar you invest in training, yields the same returns.
Imagine you can train employees in a totally different way. That you supplement the classroom lesson plan by completing online assignments, reading books and discussing homework with a coach. Depending on what is needed at that specific moment in time. Wishful thinking? Nope! With a blended learning lesson plan it is possible.
Blended learning is more than simply replacing a few classroom hours by one or two online modules. Blended learning is an approach to education that combines online educational materials with traditional place-based classroom methods. Blended learning give the students more autonomy over their learning. With blended learning you can cater to every individual need.
For example... Max (26) is a project leader. His managing director thinks he should enroll in a leadership course. However, Max really doesn't know if that's the right move for him. He is good in his field of work and he definitely wants to grow and develop, and yes, he is coaching a trainee. But is that really considered to be a 'leader'? Or is he just a 'mentor'? Or maybe he's only 'keeping an eye' on things? And does he even want to become a supervisor? And if so? Which course would be best for him?
Good questions. Fortunately, Max's managing director is aware of the steps that need to precede this decision. First, Max needs to determine what it is he really wants to do. So he starts with the online course 'Me? A manager?' He comes to the conclusion that yes, he indeed wants to take on a more managerial role. He applies his new skills in his current position and takes the first steps towards becoming a 'leader'. He finds more support in the online course 'Situational leadership', a few audiobooks and some talks with his e-coach.
At some point in time, however, he realizes that he wants to expand his role as a manager and take on more responsibilities. It's time to get to work with an experienced trainer. He registers for a classroom training in situational leadership. He then realizes that he should learn how to be more assertive. So he also completes the online course 'Assertiveness'. When, a year on, he manages the entire division, Max decides he wants to get some occasional feedback from an experienced coach/mentor. Even though he knows exactly what to do, some positive feedback and a different perspective will definitely help him stay on top of things.
And that is how Max shapes his own learning path. He combines online courses, classroom trainings, ecoaching and books, to match his learning needs at a specific time. No 'one size fits all' mentality. But tailored. Custom made. We refer to this as blended learning.