You want to schedule a meeting with your sales team. But your simple meeting request is met with, “I am out of the office that day,” “I am traveling to a sales call” or from the meeting facilitator, “I am having a hard time finding an open conference room to train.” In-person training can be challenging to coordinate multiple schedules and to justify costs associated with it.
One the other hand, online training can leave employees feeling disconnected from a group exercise or left with unanswered questions. This leads to frustrated team members and an unsuccessful training session. That’s why more and more companies are now implementing blended learning training.
Blended learning tools for training success
Blended learning is simply a hybrid of classroom and online training. It can take the headache out of the scenario we just gave. And likewise, the headache of the drawbacks of a solely-based online training program. Blended learning gives you options and flexibility. So what blended learning tools are available today? How can you make the most of your blended learning training sessions? Here are some top tools we recommend.
1. Use learning management system partner
If you don’t currently use a learning management system (LMS) partner, it’s time to find a provider. LMS companies can build your training system to support both in-person training and online training. Once your system is in place, an LMS provider will help you create personalized training experiences, reduce training costs, and track employee performance/skill development. Plus, your employees will learn smarter and be more engaged during the training process.
2. Educational games
People of all ages play video games. But besides recreational fun, games are a great way to infuse your training with new life. Gamification in training is another blended learning tool to keep employees learning and remain an active participant during a training session.
There are four different types of games you can implement.
- Serious games
Serious game or educational games come in the form of quests or legends and are under a general theme. Some theme examples are movies, T.V. shows or casino games. Employees are divided into teams that compete against each other using their mobile devices. Everyone receives instructions on a general screen and results are given in real-time.
- Audience response systems
Sitting through a classroom-led presentation can be boring. Instructors try and reach out to the audience to make it more interactive, but how many in the room really interact during a given session? Maybe five at the most?
That’s where audience response systems (ARS) can be a great blended learning tool. All employees are given a tablet during the training session with a pre-installed ARS app. The instructor then asks a general question or polls the attendees and everyone responds by typing in their answer on their tablet. Answers are calculated in real-time and then can be displayed back to the audience in a graph format. Employees stay engaged, data can be collected for future training use, and everyone leaves training feeling like their voice was heard.
- FAQ cards
FAQ cards is another great blended learning tool. They can be used as part of your training workshops in sales or customer service scenarios. What you can do is role play with your team and each card of the FAQ app can present a challenging situation. A participant would then open the card, read it, and act out the scenario given.
- Interactive posters
Since repetition has been shown to work well in memory retention, it is great to incorporate during training. Interactive poster apps are one of the blended learning tools that can solidify key messages for takeaway.
Basically, participants scan a QR code of a poster or a brochure for example. Then, they are granted access to more information on the training subject matter. Once they memorize this material, participants are then tested through quizzes on what they have learned. It’s a fun way to memorize key information through gamification.
3. Digital badges
Digital badges are another great blended learning tool to consider implementing. They can be used in a few ways. One is it can help designate one type of course from another; making it easier for employees to locate within a learning management system. Secondly, digital badges are a motivator for employees to successfully complete a course or a series of courses.
Basically, you can assign different course with badges and track to see which employees are earning the most badges. Not only is it a great analysis tool, but digital badges can be used to award top performers.
Some companies to check out for digital badges include Credly and Badgr.
4. Formative assessment tools
Formative assessment tools are a great way to track how your blended learning program is running and how your employees are performing. Specific examples include how assignments are submitted, surveys or polls are taken, and tests are administered. These basic capabilities can be found in most learning management systems today. However, to get the most accurate assessment of how your program is performing and functioning, it’s a great idea to look for outside apps to integrate within your LMS.
Here are a few formative assessment apps to consider:
- FlipGrid: Creates prompts to start discussions and offers employee conversation via video
- Formative: Gathers and acts on employee feedback and tracks their growth for any employee subset on any type of device. Creates multiple types of questions including true/false, multiple choice, show your work, short answer, drawing or essay formats
- Quizizz: Builds personalized quizzes or searches through those made by others. Quizzes can be assigned via mode or for use in asynchronous settings
- Turbonote: Chrome extension that allows employees to take notes and reflect as they watch a video
- Kahoot: Creates, plays, and share fun learning games
- Answer Garden: A real-time learner participation, online brainstorming, and classroom feedback tool that allows you to see employees’ big concepts and takeaways
- Padlet: An online virtual bulletin board to collaborate, reflect and share links and pictures