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Blended learning can be defined as a mix of learning modalities: online courses, instructor-led classes, books, videos, simulations and job aids. These blends can be very simple or quite complex–but the goal is to create a more effective and efficient learning experience than can be achieved with a single type of learning.
One of the most common reasons that organizations use blended learning is to reduce the cost and duration of traditional classroom training. Online courses and books can be used as pre-work to prepare employees to get the most out of a face-to-face classroom experience. Post-classroom practice activities and job aids can be used to ensure that the material is actually applied in the workplace.
Learning resources can also be used proactively by managers to focus the employee on the best way to apply the learning on the job. The goal is to reduce "scrap learning" (learning that is delivered but not applied to the job).
Blended learning can be relatively straightforward to quite intricate in design. For busy executives, a blended approach might be to offer several choices of learning that can be consumed in short 10-minute chunks. A blend can consist of a book chapter, a topic in a course and a three-minute video, for instance. With on-the-go audiences, you may want to provide mobile learning options as part of your blend.
Sometimes blended learning is used to support learners with varied learning styles and needs. Millennials may prefer to watch a video or engage in a short simulation, but another worker may prefer to read a chapter or take a full course. Sometimes the need for assessment and formal tracking also influences the modalities that are offered in the learning blend. There are cases where the human element is key – but this can also be achieved with online mentoring and virtual live instruction, so the possibilities are almost endless.
Visual Matter has helped companies create powerful learning blends that support a wide variety of business objectives and audiences. Our learning consultants routinely help customers in aligning our assets with specific competencies and creating blended learning programs to meet specific needs. Learn more about blended learning and how Visual Matter solutions can support your unique needs.
Performance management is one of the most important elements of a talent management strategy, but many organizations struggle to do it well. When performance management focuses primarily on annual employee performance appraisals, companies miss opportunities to help those employees improve their performance all other days of the year.
When handled this way, it's no wonder performance management is a dreaded interaction for managers and staff, but pushing this part of talent management to the side as a necessary evil can put your company at a competitive disadvantage.
Recent research from Bersin & Associates found that companies with strong, positive performance management processes outperformed their peers by 3 to 1. Similarly, The Aberdeen Group research shows that helping managers develop leadership, communication and people development skills led to higher levels of productivity and engagement.
Visual Matter's learning resources are ideal for supporting performance management initiatives because they're scalable, consistent and self-paced. They're also the right length for busy schedules, respond to a variety of learning styles and allow employees to practice new and developing skills online with no fear of embarrassment.
In the meantime, here are three things you can do to improve your company's performance management process:
Reduce performance appraisal stress. Help managers understand the high value of performance management and include skills like goal setting, listening and feedback in their learning programs.
Link performance management with learning programs. Self-paced online learning is a great way for employees to address performance shortcomings without ever having to leave their desks to help ensure competency-specific gaps are being addressed and tracked.
Turn your managers into coaches. Managers with good coaching skills don't just tell their employees what the problem is and how to solve it; they help employees reflect on problems and develop their own ways to address them; employees take greater responsibility for their own performance and relationships improve.
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