Using hybrid learning to support hybrid working
The pandemic made us conduct our work online and virtually. After two years of working remotely, many people are looking forward to interacting with colleagues and clients in person while others have gotten used to working from home. But does it have to be one or the other? In the fifth installment of our ‘Learning lessons from lockdown’ blog series, we discuss how we use hybrid learning to support hybrid working.
A hybrid model
Covid has encouraged us to be resourceful and creative. Some organizations went from nearly no online working to putting all their business online. This involved creating an IT infrastructure, enabling mobile connectivity, and digitizing processes and materials. It was often an ad hoc, even chaotic affair, but they did it and it worked – to a degree.
Now CLOs in organizations are asking themselves what to do with this shadow, virtual way of working. Can they offer the best of both worlds: take the lessons of lockdown and the best of face-to-face, in-person, social working and digital connectivity, and mobile working to create a hybrid model of working?
A question of choice
Sure, people have missed the human connection. They’ve missed those social moments. They’ve missed the almost intangible benefits of working alongside others: the unspoken communication and understanding; the trust you build spending time with people; the informal learning and knowledge you gain from proximity to others.
Less missed is the commute to work. Working virtually has allowed people flexibility – from choosing the days and hours they work to finding a new balance between work and life. It can be a question of perspective. One person’s sense of isolation is another’s sense of freedom. If Covid has taught us anything about managing and training people, it’s that you need to take account of individual needs and goals.
Why not combine in-person and distance working hybrid working and give people more choice?
Offering hybrid working has implications for how we in learning and development train people. If you broaden the working environment, you need a learning strategy to sustain it.
Hybrid learning combines the best elements of instructor-led, classroom-based, group learning with the reach, flexibility, and accessibility of digital learning. It’s widely used in the education sector but can bring benefits to businesses too.
You might say we have that model already: it’s called blended learning. But while blended learning is a mix of online and in-person training, it strictly delineates which elements are online and which are in-person.
Hybrid learning offers the same training in both online and in-person formats. It gives learners a choice. So, if you can’t attend the class in person, you do it (at the same time) online. It is more inclusive and doesn’t discriminate between those physically present and those participating remotely.
6 key features of hybrid learning
- Increased flexibility: Hybrid learning combines the benefits of classroom training with the convenience and accessibility of online learning. Making some learning digital and accessible online allows instructors to concentrate on adding real value, motivating, and activating learners.
- Greater inclusivity: A hybrid model offers all learners the chance to learn together even if they’re distant. This encourages teambuilding and guarantees equal opportunities and access to all.
- More synchronous learning: Much of digital learning is asynchronous and potentially invisible. By allowing distance learners to participate in live classrooms you ensure they learn and collaborate with others in real-time. Participation in asynchronous learning helps build connections.
- Better use of resources: The hybrid model recognizes and utilizes the key strengths of both classroom-based and online learning. Better use and demarcation of resources (i.e. what format and delivery work best for what) makes training more effective by making the best use of instructors’ time (e.g. in a flipped classroom). More efficient training programs and the reduced need to travel lower training costs.
- A holistic approach: Hybrid learning leaves no one behind. Conducting training in-person and online at the same time promotes shared experience. Recording sessions for playback later ensures that everything that happens in the classroom, even unscripted and informal learning, is captured.
- Adapted to hybrid workspaces: Hybridization of working is about offering choice, but some employees won’t have that choice. Healthcare workers, retail staff, hospitality, and others have to be in the physical workplace. Others like sales or call center staff can’t step away from work. Hybrid learning can deliver the same high-quality learning experience regardless of an employee’s location.
Hybrid learning supports new ways of working and training in the post-Covid environment. It gives organizations and employees more flexibility and more choice in how they deliver training programs. A hybrid training model offers continuity, accessibility, and a more inclusive learning experience.
To find out more on how you can help your organization move forward to the post-pandemic era, get in touch now.
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