Part II : Where Are You with Your Blended Learning Strategy?
In this second post, we are going to look at tactics that can be immediately deployed to improve your blended learning strategy. You are probably doing some of these already. In subsequent posts, we will dig deeper into strategic initiatives that can take your program to the next level of driving measurable business improvement.
As always, we hope that you take away one or more ideas and put them into action.
- Flash to HTML5 conversion – turning lemons into lemon aid
- Micro-learning – as RLO (re-usable learning objects)
- Video – it’s back, and it’s interactive!
- Gamification – that reduces time to competency
- Simulation – that challenges the application of learning
- XR – blurring the line between knowledge and skills training
Flash to HTML5 conversion – turning lemons into lemon aid
If you have a legacy curriculum of Flash eLearning courses, you already know that soon, most internet browsers will no longer support the Flash player. So does that mean you are stuck with a newly fixed expense of conversion that adds no value to your program – maybe?
Micro-learning Learning and RLO
You may be able to turn this lemon into lemon aid. Consider making dual use of your learning content by converting your Flash courses to into a responsive.HTML5 format that not only will play on desktop browsers but also on any mobile device. And since mobile devices are ubiquitous, they represent an excellent opportunity to deliver learning opportunities accessible anytime – anywhere and performance support in the flow of daily work.
Unfortunately, your budget probably didn’t double to address the full range of platforms.HTML5 can reach, but it may not have to. Enter a design concept envisioned by the talented folks at Cisco more than twenty years ago whose time may have finally come.
Reusable Learning Objects (RLOs)
Consider designing your next eLearning as a full course made up of stand-alone learning objects that can also be deployed as:
· Mobile learning that can more easily be digested on a module at a time
· Spaced learning pushed out to improve retention, after the main course
· On-demand performance support, there when needed a year after the formal course
The RLO design approach doesn’t necessarily require any more budget or schedule to yield more than one set of deliverables. It does require a more disciplined approach to the design of the course, however, keeping each module focused on a single objective, written in a way that flows inside the course and also works stand-alone. Although RLO design may require a little more planning at the beginning, to yield the re-usable learning objects, we have found it also improves the design of the overall course.
If you are interested in what the research says about the benefit of spacing learning out over time, Dr. Will Thalheimer has an excellent report which you can download here.
Video – it’s back, and it’s interactive!
Ironically, the arrival of the internet that enabled eLearning almost killed the use of video in self-paced training. The bandwidth just wasn’t there and for several years, and the alternative of sending out “training in a box” with a DVD with its production and distribution costs paled in comparison to quickly developing a few pages of text, static images, and later voiceover.
Then along came YouTube and other video streaming services supported by an explosion in bandwidth and the distribution of video as part of eLearning is no longer an issue. YouTube also had the effect of lowering audience expectations for production value. As long as the video clip was funny or useful for a Saturday afternoon home project, millions watched. Today no one cares today about “broadcast quality” training video.
For a long list of learning tasks, video remains the superior media, including:
• Behavior modeling
• New Product learning
• Visual step by step instruction
In addition to playing a role in an interactive sequence of .html5 pages, the video itself can have hot links to engage the learner with choices as in the innovative Netflix show “Black Mirror – Bandersnatch.”
Gamification – that reduces time to competency
Challenge your learners to demonstrate what they already know in a competitive, interactive format that gives them credit, let’s them skip that part of the training and focuses their learning on what they don’t know, and you have engaged learners . . . mastering knowledge topics in half the time.
Tactical vs. Strategic
This is a simple tactic that you can build inside a product knowledge or other eLearning course where learners are likely to already know some of the subject matter. Applying the same competency-based approach to onboarding or your whole curriculum can have the same benefits at the strategic level, increasing curriculum throughput by reducing the time it takes your learners to demonstrate competence. We will get into that in depth in a future post on designing prescriptive learning paths by customizing your learning management system.
Simulation – that challenges the application of learning.
After learning about interpersonal or selling skills, learners can be challenged to apply what was learned in a branching simulation with alternative responses in the form of video clips. A simple path will guide the learner down a limited path with remediation after incorrect choices. A more complex path can add to the realism of the experience.
The same branching tactic and be used to challenge technical learners to diagnose a problem or use a new tool.
There has always been a limit to the realism that can be achieved on a personal computer. The immersive XR technology covered in the next section breaks through the barriers of the computer screen. Imagine the difference between experiencing a simulation on your computer screen with all the normal workplace distraction compared to doing the same fully immersed with a headset. If you haven’t experienced this yet, you owe it to yourself to give it a try.
XR – blurring the line between knowledge and skills training
Interactive video is also a great, cost-effective entry-point to XR if you are considering adding it to your Blend in 2019. Shooting virtual reality video is close to linear video in the budget and skill set required and it can be integrated into an eLearning course or delivered as a stand-alone experience that plays on any device with a web browser, including headsets like Oculus Go ($200@) or the Google Cardboard frame for your phone (less than $10). We believe 2019 is already the tipping point for XR and have covered this is a previous blog post series which you can find at:
One of our favorite automotive company executives used to spot our team on campus and yell across space, “Hey CraneMorley . . . what’s next?” We knew that he meant what was the next learning innovation we could bring his company to drive performance improvement? That kept us on the path of always looking to take performance to the next level.
In each of the next posts, we will dig deeper into the strategic opportunities to transform your blended strategy, taking it to the next level of driving performance improvement.
- Better align training to measurable on the job performance improvement
- Provide a prescriptive learning path unique to each learner’s needs
- Engage the manager as a coach for each direct report’s development
- Reduce time to competency with pre-assessment that targets just needed learning
- Provide learning in the flow of work when and where it’s needed
In the meantime, if we can help you put any of these ideas to work in your company, please don’t hesitate to contact us at (562) 427-7000 ext. 211