How to deliver engaging and effective online blended learning

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blended onlinePre-pandemic the idea of online learning often referred to clicking through a one-size-fits-all elearning program, hardly engaging and rarely effective. Today as we all strive to keep our employees motivated and ready them for what’s ahead, blended online learning has an opportunity for those brave enough to use it, to make a real difference to the performance of their teams.

As the name suggests, this approach blends multiple modes of learning, with video rising to the top as a powerful way to achieve engagement. This has been facilitated by the now ubiquitous, Zoom. In May 2020, Zoom’s daily meeting participants hit the 300 million mark, up from 10 million in December 2019.

By mixing modalities and retaining that human element of connection through video, online blended learning can prevent your employees from disengaging with their training and instead spur them on toward productive, deductive development.

So how does engaging and effective online blended learning work in practice? Read on for the answer in our fifth instalment of Employee Engagement in Isolation and Beyond blog series.

An online blended learning journey

Online learning doesn’t have to be one-way. Online blended learning proves this by fostering interaction and deductive reasoning while taking participants on an engaging learning journey. Here’s how one of our clients, JATO, a global provider of automotive intelligence, is doing exactly that using our mobile learning and coaching platform, On.Board. Their goal is to refresh and upskill their sales team as lockdown eases.

On.Board’s easy-to-use activity builder enabled  JATO to design their blended learning program; Selling the JATO Way. Their program includes a series of different development tasks incorporating different modes of learning and delivered in a logical sequence:

Step 1. Inform, engage and get ready

Participants start via a video introduction to the program delivered by their Head of Commercial Teams, this ensures the team understands the program structure, what to expect and the importance of the program. Subsequently participants are expected to absorb content relating to the JATO sales process, which sits at the heart of the program. The program works through the different stages of their process over a number of weeks.

Step 2. Digital facilitation

Participants are invited to attend an interactive web conference, which is where the human element comes in. The facilitator refers to the pre-work to generate discussion on how best to apply the skills and processes contained in their first two sales process stages. The discussion generates ideas, suggestions and actions to work on. Subsequently the facilitator administrates roleplay sessions using Zoom breakout rooms to enable participants to practice the skills taught, giving greater relevance and context to the participant’s learning objectives.

Step 3. Commitment to change

Following the interactive session participants are asked to complete an action plan for how they will apply the new learning ‘at work’, this is automatically shared with their manager through our platform for review. Furthermore content is reinforced through links to supplementary resources and reading. Participants are invited to submit reflections of the content which ensures they are engaged and enables tracking of their progress and development.

Step 4. Practice, reflection and sharing

To further polish and practice the new skills participants are invited to role-play the skills with a colleague or their manager/coach, record this and upload it to the platform for review. The role-plays also require participants to complete self-evaluation of their performance, what they did well and what they could improves and also share this with their manager for discussion and coaching. The social feature of On.Board can enable such uploads to be shared via a social gallery, this enables peer review, feedback and discussion.

Step 5. Application, self evaluation and refinement

The process above repeats itself as it covers all the stages of their sales process. On completion of the modules participants arrange a one-on-one live review session with their manager to discuss their progress and commit to how they will apply the new learning to their work. What follows is a series of self-evaluation tasks to encourage participants to consider how they used the new skills in their real-world activities. Furthermore, managers can observe customer conversations and use structured feedback tools to provide feedback and refine their participants performance.

Time to give it a go?

The format used by our customer JATO can be modified and tailored to the particular needs of your team, whatever function they deliver. There are endless options to develop your online blended learning program. We believe that experimentation is key to success, try new approaches and assess their effectiveness, not just by ‘consumer appreciation’ but more importantly through impact on results and KPIs in the weeks or months that follow.

Remember to involve all stakeholders in the assessment, the participant, their manager, their mentor and senior leaders to ensure you both validate (how did behavior change?) and evaluate (what was the ROI?). This will enable you to adapt and hone your online blended learning program to achieve maximum engagement and ultimately maximum results. Why not get in touch to discuss how you can tune-up your team for the opportunities ahead?

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