I’m a real advocate for blended learning and was delighted when Towards Maturity highlighted that the most successful L&D departments are four times more likely to blend, confirming my long-held belief. It is reassuring though to have proof that blended learning improves organisational outcomes and explains its growth in popularity with L&D. Unfortunately, many people in L&D tell me that this enthusiasm doesn’t always trickle down to their people, so what can you do when you think your learners won’t embrace blended learning?
The secret to encouraging learners to engage with blended learning is what I like to call ‘The Buy-In Phase’. This is where we need to help learners understand the problem which their learning will resolve, building their motivation and helping them appreciate ‘what’s in it for me’. As such, this is your opportunity to create motivated and engaged learners who understand precisely what the blended learning will accomplish.
Stories of success
One of the keys to a successful Buy-In Phase is storytelling. Create a narrative which explains where the problem originates from, how it affects them as an individual and the positive outcome which they can expect to achieve. Doing this will capture learner’s interests and help them understand how their learning contributes to resolving an organisation-wide issue, while also (hopefully) making their job easier. What’s more, by explaining how learning fits as part of an ongoing story, we can also show learners how the blended resources can support their continual improvement.
Pass them the mirror
Sound challenging? Don’t panic, there are a range of techniques which can make your Buy-In a success. One of the simplest methods is a self-assessment. Asking learners to evaluate themselves requires consideration of their performance, including recognising areas of potential improvement. Done well, a self-assessment can really motivate learners to improve, creating a hunger for more learning.
Put them in the customer’s shoes
It’s always great to include a story that comes from a customer’s perspective. Outlining their challenges helps learners empathise more and appreciate the value of overcoming these problems. Case studies are fantastic tools for building learner engagement and helping learners see ‘the big picture’ behind their learning.
Your Buy-In Phase can also be boosted with simple, supplementary, third party resources. For example, I know lots of learning professionals (including myself) are big fans of TED talks. If you’ve found an inspirational and persuasive TED talk which relates to upcoming learning, your people will probably love it too. Such resources make great additions to the Buy-In Phase, as they have the power to help learners understand what your blended learning solution can offer them.
Whilst the Buy-In Phase is extremely important, it’s worth remembering that true blended learning is designed to be the best possible solution for your learners. As such, I find that the best blends usually face less learner opposition than you might think, as people can relate to the delivery methods that have been chosen. Towards Maturity also note that organisations that provide blended learning solutions are twice as likely to report improved job productivity, so ultimately your people probably won’t be as opposed as you think.
Of course, even the best Buy-In Phase will be pointless if your blended learning isn’t brilliant, so why not also check out our Six Step Guide to Successful Blending?
Stephanie Morgan FLPI, Director of Learning Solutions, Bray Leino Learning
Sharing ideas and observations to help improve performance.
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