In many government organizations, jobs are distributed across large geographic areas, where employees are accountable to different bosses and responsive to different regulations and rules. Managing such an enterprise from a central office can be akin to navigating an ocean with many islands, each surrounded by unique currents and shoals.
Managers must be able to measure results across the enterprise and ensure that employees are well trained and knowledgeable about institutional requirements. So, is it logistically possible to roll out an effective, engaging training program where employees retain what they learn? How can managers create a program that brings tangible results to potentially thousands of workers in such distributed government positions? Using a centralized learning management system to administer a blended learning program is one way.
Government agencies are moving to technology-based learning as a cost-effective strategy for training and professional development. A learning management system provides a hub where universal design for learning allows instructional designers and trainers to create and collect content and to distribute standardized and branded education. An LMS is a central place for learners to show up, receive instruction, and to be in community with the whole of the learning organization, with on-demand anytime, anywhere access to materials and information.
Furthermore, when organizations place blended learning philosophies and activities into the educational experience, the retention, and even enjoyment of the learning process improves.
Blended learning occurs when e-learning is combined with traditional classroom methods and independent study to create a new, hybrid teaching methodology. It refers to a training approach that combines a mix of online and face-to-face training delivery for improved engagement and better retention. It can include anything from basic computer-based training; electronic job aids, assessments and simulations; in-person classroom learning; online meetings in spaces such as join.me or WebEx; wikis; and online or in-person coaching. With blended learning, retention rates and engagement greatly increase because students are more motivated to learn, as they have the opportunity to come together and connect with one another. This has the added benefit of strengthening ties and relationships across the distributed organization.
Blended learning modalities also allow instructors to quickly deploy critical information both face-to-face and online via mobile learning capacities.
Austin Martin is a Marketing Manager at Mindflash.