The growth of blended learning has led to creative and impactful training solutions. Companies from all industries are using the methodology to meet their learning goals and reduce training costs. A previous article highlighted five blended learning best practices to get started on the right foot. These case studies provide insight into the training and development challenges of two very different companies and how a blended learning solution meets their needs.
The Boeing Company: Creating a Relevant Learning Experience
The Boeing Company wanted to improve its capture team leader (CTL) training to more closely reflect the work that the business development role performs within the organization. In addition to better preparing participants for the CTL role, the company wanted to reduce classroom time. The redesigned course also had to be less dependent on experienced CTLs, who served as guest speakers in the and often were called away for high-priority client meetings or executive-level requests. Boeing also wanted to test the applicability of virtual learning environment and course management system for delivering pre-course e-learning.
Boeing created a blended learning solution that includes eight small, web-based training (WBT) lessons. Participants complete lessons and associated assignments using the course management system before attending a four-day live course. This updated curriculum allows participants to gain a foundational knowledge of the CTL role, its responsibilities and the tools they need to be effective. It also allows them to practice the skills of a CTL before attending the live session. With this preparation, participants come to the classroom session with baseline knowledge and assignments that they use throughout the classroom session. Throughout the classroom-based learning, participants walk through the phases of a real capture effort using the knowledge and assignments they completed in the pre-classroom online learning. Experienced CTLs served as facilitators. Guest speakers were still invited to share their perspectives, but the success of the course was not dependent on their attendance, as it had been in the original course.
While Boeing is still compiling performance data, the initial feedback from participant surveys has been positive. Participants ranked the training an average of 4.5 out of 5.0 in four areas: knowledge gain, value, performance improvement and job impact. In addition, 82.5 percent of respondents felt they could immediately use the course content on the job, and 100 percent responded that they would recommend the course to a colleague.
Professional Services Company: Improving Onboarding Effectiveness
A global professional services company wanted to help new employees become more impactful, personally and professionally, from day one. They wanted to increase the depth of knowledge needed for them to be immediately successful in their roles. This knowledge included a range of topics, from company processes and support tools to problem-solving and effective communications. In addition, delivering training was a challenge, as new employees join the firm at different times, in different locations all over the world. Most of the original onboarding training was online, but engagement and relevance were lacking.
With its renewed commitment, the firm now onboards employees using live sessions in their local offices and a blended learning solution as a capstone event. Approximately eight to 12 weeks after joining the firm and completing local onboarding, new employees participate in a 2.5-day, cloud-based virtual classroom learning experience. A learning hub, which provides access to self-study material and team challenge activities that are completed during the virtual classroom session, supports the training. The hub is available to learners before and after the virtual classroom event to support the evolution of personal and professional development. Employees can locate a particular piece of self-study material or participate in social learning elements, which are also included in the learning hub.
As of December 2018, this solution is about to be piloted with new employees. Preliminary feedback from both faculty and prospective users has been positive.
Even though these companies are from different industries and had different challenges, their approach to developing a blended learning solution was similar. Both companies first prioritized their needs. Then, they defined outcomes and set measurable objectives to evaluate their efforts. Only then did they turn to different training tools and methodologies. Proceeding in this order allowed them to have the biggest impact for their organizations.
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