I was talking to a client recently about their aspirations to deliver truly blended learning solutions. Even though they know what they wanted to do they were discovering it was not that straightforward to actually achieve. With a little bit of prompting they explained that they have a smorgasbord of learning materials already available to their learners:
- eLearning, some of which they designed themselves, some bought in
- a whole catalogue of face to face events
- a subscription that provides summaries of all the best business books
- Videos and more
In fact, they had everything a learner could ever want. Accessing it from a learner’s perspective was another matter, and understanding how to capitalise on all this content was also taxing them considerably. Added to this they also had other assets that they make available to learners, such as guides and company specific procedures and processes. They themselves felt overwhelmed, not just with how much they now realised they provided but also how they were going to more towards more blended solutions whilst moving away from their existing approach.
It is interesting too, from my point of view, about the human psyche - we never want to “get rid of anything”. We might be wasteful in many ways but once we have “something”, even when it is long past its usefulness, we are loathe to just get rid of it. Having a wardrobe full of 70’s flared trousers is one thing but having an LMS full of outdated learning is completely another.
This can be difficult in L&D. Our roles are to respond to business needs, to be even changing and evolving. I have never heard of any person in L&D who is just responsible for archiving and pruning.
Don’t get me wrong, I think L&D professionals are masters at reworking existing materials, updating them and delivering them in new and completely different ways, but that is usually on a project by project basis, as and when business priorities changes and the focus is changed.
Of course, when you come to blended learning from this position, you are more likely than ever to end up with a classroom sandwich, i.e. lets link our face to face with a bit of eLearning and bobs your uncle!
In my view it can take a mind-set change to leverage yourself out of feeling overwhelmed, past the quick fix of a classroom sandwich and to move to truly blended learning across the whole organisation.
By this I mean we need to take on board some of the tactics and tools used by our colleagues in the business and reengineer our whole L&D approach, have a really good spring-clean, cutting loose what we really no longer need, and building our own unique solutions depending our unique business and learner driven needs.
When you have an existing culture that is embedded reengineering it might seem like hard work, but actually I believe it is quicker and more effective in the long term.
At the end of the day blended learning in itself is not that difficult. In fact, provided you have a platform to deliver the learning effortlessly and direct to the learner, it is moving from where you are now that can feel overwhelming. Change your mind-set and take the bull by horns and just reengineer it first as last!