Hooray! It finally happened — you've decided to incorporate eLearning into your existing training and development programs. Your training is now going to be delivered using "blended learning," and part of you is wondering: Is this going to fundamentally change what I do around here?
The answer is "Yes"... and that is a good thing! Blended learning is nothing without you as the human element! Both are critical pieces to the puzzle: eLearning tools provide a consistent and engaging presentation of content, while human beings help to create, organize, interpret, and customize the content. (If you need a refresher on the benefits of blended learning, check out our blog post on it here.)
This is actually great news for trainers because it means the role of trainer is changing and growing. The challenge for the modern trainer is not figuring out these new tools, or thinking of ways to stay relevant in this new learning ecosystem. The challenge is figuring out the specific ways trainers can leverage their expertise, and then letting technology do the rest.
So, if you are a trainer whose organization is adopting (or thinking of adopting) eLearning tools, now is the time to consider all the possibilities for growing your role. Here are four areas where that growth is happening:
Expert Trainers View Themselves as Resources
eLearning content is not made in a vacuum. Subject matter experts have always had a hand in producing learning content, no matter the format.
But what happens when content comes "pre-packaged" in off-the-shelf content offerings? This is where you can shine. Subject matter experts often lend their expertise to add value to off-the-shelf content by:
- Customizing video content
- Providing additional materials to complement the content
- Helping to interpret and apply difficult pieces of information
- Facilitating discussion on the material
- Providing organization-specific examples and application
Many trainers who embrace off-the-shelf eLearning content have come to see their role changing from that of presenter or facilitator to that of guide or resource. Employees can learn the basics from a video, for example, with the trainer then facilitating discussion and applying those concepts to real-world business problems faced by the organization.
Trainers Are Changing the Way They Present
The days of the 60-minute or all day presentation given to a ballroom full of people are dwindling. And this is a good thing. Trainers now have many more choices when it comes to presenting their material. Some examples:
- Trainers can run a more interactive classroom environment, assigning eLearning videos as "pre-work" so that all participants come with basic knowledge in common.
- Trainers can make presentations available online as webinars or online seminars, in order to reach a broader audience.
- Trainers can add value to off-the-shelf courses by leading group discussions to apply the situations to real-life scenarios.
- Trainers can use videos as follow-up and reinforcement content days, weeks, and months after the actual learning event.
Most importantly, today's digital tools represent more opportunities to get materials into learners' hands. This is incredibly important as more and more learners access content from home, commuting to and from work, and on the road — especially from their mobile devices.
Warehouse workers, truck drivers, and construction teams don't always have the flexibility to attend those 60-minute presentations, but training is a critical part of maintaining their workplace safety standards. ej4 understands that modern training involves flexibility in the "when and where" of accessing it. Our Thinkzoom LMS takes that into consideration by being 100% mobile-friendly, accommodating on-the-job learning where it is most critical.
Trainers Are Flexing Their Creative Muscles
Most trainers have a creative streak in them but don't always have the time or resources to create all of the courses on their list. By utilizing a library of eLearning courses, trainers can free up some of their time. Off-the-shelf libraries are great for the topics that require 100% consistency of content like workplace compliance and safety. Trainers then have the freedom to create their own curriculum of content for the topics unique to their company. This process works great for onboarding, product training, your sales process, and more. These can be offered through multiple venues, in person, or online.
The great thing about the turn to digital tools is that they can replace many of the classes where trainers had to be physically present and employees had to be away from their job. When a subject matter expert or trainer is not tied up in presentations at all times, it frees them up to create and curate content, and evolve their role.
Figuring Out Your Own Recipe for Success
In short, blended learning is not a replacement for corporate learning specialists (or anyone in a training capacity, for that matter). You should see it instead as an opportunity to remove some of the burdens that traditionally are placed on trainers: repeating courses over and over, being out-of-office for long periods of time, drowning in binders of printed materials, etc.
The use of blended learning may provide the flexibility to spend more time with managers and leaders across your organization and complete a thorough, upfront needs analysis. Training reinforcement can be automated. Better training data on the back-end will allow you to analyze results and demonstrate program effectiveness. The wonderful thing is that eLearning tools and content allow you to keep control of the aspects of training you enjoy, while freeing you from those that are burdensome.
In other words, there are many different ways in which you can leverage your expertise. The challenge for the modern trainer is to discover which ways to do this best, and then learn how technology can do the rest. Figure out this recipe, and you'll not only reach a wider audience but provide a better training experience.
- We highly recommend you check out our eBook on blended learning, which was the basis for this article. You can download the eBook right now for free.
- Read about the benefits of blended learning in our blog post "5 Blended-Learning Benefits for Corporate Trainers."
- Hear about one of our clients who combined their instructor-led content with our Thinkzoom LMS and off-the-shelf training videos to create their own blended-learning environment in our case study on Burke Distributing.