Although sometimes used as a synonym for eLearning, blended learning actually incorporates all modalities of learning, whether it’s an online module, a presenter addressing a class via webinar, or a group of participants working together on a case study.
Several trends will influence how blended learning initiatives are developed, delivered, and received in 2021. Here are the eight that we expect to have the most significant impact:
According to a recent study by Forrester Research, today’s employees are 75 percent more likely to watch a video than to read emails, documents, or web articles. With the availability of high-quality cameras and inexpensive, less-sophisticated video-editing tools, L&D teams will create, edit, and add more video training to their initiatives.
2. Micro Learning
As learners deal with increasing time crunches and shortening attention spans, the days of the e-learning module that requires one hour or more to complete will come to an end. Modules will be shorter, more focused, and include regular challenges to keep learners engaged.
3. Mobile Learning
Learners face yet another challenge: lives that are more and more “on-the-go.” To accommodate them, tools such as Learning Management Systems and e-learning need to be available on smartphones and tablets. As an increasing number of LMS and authoring tools create content with responsive design, learners will be able to access content anywhere and anytime a laptop is not a viable option.
Curation – gathering, filtering, and re-purposing existing content to add value – will rise. While this approach is common already with reading materials, the practice will accelerate with other forms of content such as videos. This will help L&D teams create a modern and holistic set of learning content more quickly. In some cases, spending the time and expense to develop a new video will make less sense than taking one from YouTube.
5. “If you say ‘e-learning’ again, I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”
In the minds of some L&D teams and learners, the term “e-learning” has almost become an obscenity, a term synonymous with long, boring, and ineffective modules that learners are tempted to simply click through in order to complete. What we at StratX think of as e-learning will continue to evolve while users and suppliers use new terms such as “online learning,” “digital performance enablement,” and the aforementioned “micro learning” and “mobile learning.” A term such as “e-learning” is much broader than it was just a few years ago and there will be a general mindset shift to modernize learning design.
6. Assessment, Measurement, and Practical Application
L&D teams are under increasing pressure to demonstrate a return on investment in learning initiatives. Therefore, more attention will be paid to assessing the needs of learners, identifying Key Performance Indicators, and measuring the actual impact of learning initiatives on learner performance and quantifiable business results. Adoption of methodologies such as the Kirkpatrick Model, which we use at StratX, will become more commonplace. There will also be increased emphasis on the acquisition or development of tools that learners can use on-the-job to support practical application.
7. Business Simulations
The 70:20:10 Model for learning and development has gained tremendous buy-in over the past few years. Business simulations are recognized as a way to emulate the 70% percent of learning that occurs on-the-job by creating a risk-free environment for learners to practice concepts and adopt new behaviors. When appropriate, designers will integrate simulations into corporate learning and development initiatives more often.
8. Back to the Classroom
The general trend has been for initiatives to move from the classroom to online modalities such as e-learning, webinars, and virtual classrooms. This comes as no surprise since new technologies can not only help increase engagement and impact, but they can also reduce time, monetary, and other costs. Although this migration will undoubtedly continue, L&D teams increasingly recognize that classroom training with live, face-to-face interaction and discussion can be more effective in some cases. Initiatives or parts of initiatives covering topics such as marketing, soft skills, and technical training that have moved online will shift back to the classroom.
While these blended learning trends may pose some challenges to L&D teams over the coming months, they will also provide enormous opportunities to leverage multiple resources and benefit learners. At StratX, we collaborate with our business partners to create engaging journeys that lift capabilities using the perfect balance of modalities for lasting business impact. Contact Yann Cartier (email@example.com) to see how StratX can help your teams succeed in 2021 and beyond.
Article written by Corwin Vandermark, Director, and Gyzel Francois, Blended Learning Consultant.