Effective Blends for Busy Managers

by | Oct 28, 2008 | Articles

Last year, the Chartered Management Institute published their first research looking at how blended learning approaches can support managment development.

One year on, the research was repeated with an online survey of over 1000 members of the CMI together with a number of in depth interviews. It shows what a difference a year can make!

the new report – Learning at work: e-learning evolution or revolution? (October 2008) – reviews the latest trends and blends in management and leadership development. It takes a look at what blended learning really can offer to busy managers beyond supplementing traditional face to face learning. The report explores the growth in new media such as facebook, youtube and social networking in supporting managers preferred learning mode – learning by experience.

If you are involved in developing management skills in your organisation , we strongly recommend that you take a look at this research whcih can be downloaded for free at:

www.managers.org.uk/evolution

How to introduce Blended learning to your organisation

Here are 8 examples from this research (published with permission from CMI) to help organisations introduce blended learning incrementally:

1. Put assessment online. One of the simplest places to start is to move a test
or assessment online. For example, a traditional instructor-led course can still be
retained, but a multiple-choice test could be moved online. This will allow training
departments to automate scoring and make it easier to track and report scores.
2. Follow up with a community of practice. Create discussion forums for learners to
access during and after training. This can enable learners to stay in touch with fellow
classmates and to ask questions, share insights and post resources. A ‘threaded
discussion’ can benefit employee and employer – collating and enhancing individual
knowledge and understanding, as well as providing a tool to review and build upon
infrastructures, training courses and delivery methods.
3. Make reference materials available. Provide links to reference materials for
learners to use after any training or learning programme. These links can enable
learners to explore topics in greater depth and reduce reliance on traditional forms of
information that can become outdated in months.
4. Deliver preparatory online learning. Organisations can introduce preparatory
work that must be completed before attendance at a face-to-face or other format of
course is permitted. Online preparatory work can save costs such as those as printing
and sending materials, as well as providing the facility for employers to track progress
and learning to ensure that attendees show up prepared.
5. Provide online office hours. Online office hours can be used to supplement the
learning process. This can provide a human touch for employees (learners) who can
get help from a real person to answer questions, help individuals devise strategies for
learning in a self-paced mode, or even to provide moral support.
6. Use mentoring/coaching as a tool. Online or face-to-face coaching can be used
as a way to ‘extend the classroom experience’. Arguably, learners have a need for
someone to correspond and interact with after any class or training to help with
problems they encounter in the field. A mentor or coach can help address this, and
questions arising thereof can also be used to improve face-to-face classes.
7. Access experts. As a follow up to face-to-face classes or other modes of learning
delivery, a live virtual classroom programme including aspects such as application
sharing, white boards and document-sharing with related ‘experts’ can stimulate
further learning and help problem-solving.
8. Maximise communications and messaging. Using e-mail based communication
during and after learning events can be a powerful tool towards encouraging a
community of practice. It also has simpler practical benefits such as sending learners
attachments with new information, pointing individuals to additional resources and
suggesting more advanced training and development.

These 8 tips are reproduced with kind permission from CMI

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